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Editorial: Safe Fourth

Talking and planning are the best safety measures; SoberRide offers a safety net.

Independence Day is a national celebration, and for many, that celebration includes alcohol. The summer overall and July 4 in particular are times of greater risk for drinking and driving.

Make a plan. Plan to celebrate with access to public transportation. Plan to have a designated driver. Plan to celebrate in a place safe and comfortable to spend the night.

But in case those plans go awry, here is a safe alternative.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free taxi rides home (up to $30) beginning 10 p.m. the night of July 4 for six hours until 4 a.m. the morning of July 5. Participants must be at least 21. Call 1-800-200-TAXI.

On July 4, 2013, nearly 300 people used WRAP’s SoberRide service rather than possibly driving home impaired.

In summer, 44 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths are caused by alcohol-impaired drivers, according to statistics provided by WRAP. SoberRide is a way to help keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.

For parents of young adults who may be living at home and parents of those under 21, this is time to talk. Ask about plans, ask specifically about getting home. Remind those over 21 to take the WRAP phone number with them.

While you hope that young adults under 21 aren’t drinking — because there are lots of dangers to binge drinking beyond drinking and driving — you know that many of them will be drinking. Let your younger family members know that you would much rather pay for a cab or come get them yourself than run the risk of losing them.

Since 1993, WRAP’s SoberRide program has provided 60,565 free cab rides home to would-be drunk drivers in the Greater Washington area.

For more information, visit www.soberride.com.

Call for Pet Connection

The Pet Connection, a twice-yearly special edition, will publish on July 23, and photos and stories of your pets with you and your family should be submitted by July 16.

Our favorite pictures include both pets and humans. We welcome short stories about how you got your pet, a noteworthy talent or anecdote about your pet, tales of the bonds between your family and your pet, plus drawings, paintings or other artwork of your pet by children or adults Please tell us a little bit about your pet, identify everyone in the photo, give a brief description what is happening in the photo, and include address and phone number (we will not publish your address or phone number, just your town name).

We welcome short stories about how you got your pet, a noteworthy talent or anecdote about your pet, explanations of the bonds between your family and your pet, plus drawings, paintings or other artwork of your pet by children or adults. Email to editors@connectionnewspapers.com. For advertising information, email sales@connectionnewspapers.com.