Fourth of July highway traffic: Expect electronic billboards, more troopers on patrol

Motorists on the road for the Fourth of July will notice two things: electronic billboards with clever safety messages and more troopers on patrol.

Both are to help keep drivers safe, but the electronic billboards might also draw some laughs.

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A Tipp City woman submitted an idea for one that would read “Don’t drive star-spangled hammered,” the Ohio Department of Transportation told News Center 7.

Many of the billboards feature puns and are meant to be original and grab drivers’ attention to the safety messages.

One on Interstate 75 south reads “Drive sober: Avoid a bang this July Fourth.”

The reporting period for when troopers keep stats on drunk driving arrests and traffic deaths is a little longer this holiday because the Fourth of July falls on a Thursday.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol always steps up patrols starting July 3 and 4, but this year the stepped up patrols will be extended through Sunday. Many people are are expected to take off work Friday for a four-day weekend.

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The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA and OSP said that it’s due to mainly one thing: drunk driving over the summer holiday.

That’s why motorists will see so many troopers between now and Sunday.

“I was coming from Troy — passed four guys with vehicles stopped on the interstate between Troy and here in Vandalia. So you will absolutely see plenty of troopers out,” said Lt. Joseph Gebhart of the OSP.

“Typically what we do especially in the three summer holidays is we schedule everybody out. We have everyone working the road, including command staff. Because we want that visibility and we want to try to keep the people safe.”

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News Center 7 will track the numbers the Ohio Department of Public Safety collects when it comes to OVI arrests and crashes for the holiday weekend. We’ll let you know how it compares to previous Fourth of July holidays.

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