State police looking out for drunk drivers and fireworks safety tips

With next week’s Independence Day celebrations right around the corner, state agencies have begun reminded residents, both in Cleburne County and statewide, of  their traditional efforts to promote safety over the holidays.


Arkansas State Police has announced they, in conjunction with local law enforcement, will be cracking down on speeding violations and drunk driving beginning this Saturday, June 28th, and lasting through July 14th.  Sobriety checkpoints will be part of this crackdown.


 “The Fourth of July has proven to be one of the deadliest holidays on Arkansas highways and in many instances, drunk driving has been the cause of these deaths,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Arkansas State Police Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We want everyone to drive sober and obey the posted speed limit.  That’s why we’re focusing on the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ and ‘Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine’ campaigns during this holiday period.”


 According to Arkansas State Police, there were 552 traffic fatalities on Arkansas roadways during 2012.  Twenty-six percent, or 143 of those fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.  Speeding was a contributing factor in 76 of the total fatalities or almost 14 percent.


  “Safety is our primary concern, not just for drivers and passengers, but for others on the road such as pedestrians and workers in construction zones,” continued Witt. “We hope all Arkansans have a great summer and holiday, but we are asking everyone to drive responsibly.”


Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has also reminded residents that firework safety should be a priority during the holiday weekend. 


“The best and safest way to enjoy the tradition of Independence Day fireworks is to watch one of the many large public displays scheduled across the state,” McDaniel said. “We do understand, though, that some consumers may want to use fireworks themselves, and in those instances, they should take all the necessary steps to make sure they spend their holiday weekend with family and friends, and not in the emergency room.”


McDaniel reminded consumers that the state’s “Fireworks Act” restricts the types of fireworks that can be sold in the state and the amount of explosive material that each firework may contain.


Firework vendors are required to have a state license. They may not sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 12 or to anyone who appears to be intoxicated. Municipal ordinances may also restrict or regulate fireworks sales.


The Attorney General’s Office also provided the following safety tips for fireworks:


Supervise children at all times and make sure adults light every firework, including sparklers – remember sparklers can burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees. Stay away from others while lighting fireworks and never aim fireworks at another person. Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers. Keep a garden hose or bucket of water within reach in case of fire. Never re-light a malfunctioning, or “dud,” firework. Soak the “duds” in water and throw them away. Only light one firework at a time and move away quickly after lighting it.