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Designate a driver this July 4

In an effort to reduce impaired driving, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers will once again be handing out free travel coffee mugs to Ohio motorists who choose to contribute to a safe Independence Day by being a designated driver.

For the third year in a row, Troopers will distribute free travel coffee mugs as part of a holiday educational effort entitled, "Designate a Driver. It's about Safety!"

While the supply lasts, the mugs will also be available at the Ironton Post.

The mugs can be taken to any participating Ohio BP location from July 3 through July 7 to receive free coffee refills.

"The Designate a Driver. It's about Safety!" partners -- the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohioans for Responsible Drinking, Clear Channel Ohio, BP and the Ohio Department of Public Safety Administration -- will join in a kick-off event on July 3 in Columbus.

As I have stated throughout the year, the patrol is more vigilant than ever in removing impaired drivers from Ohio roads. This upcoming weekend the patrol will participate in sobriety checkpoints around the state. Just as important are programs -- like "Designate a Driver. It's about Safety!" -- that aim to prevent impaired individuals from getting behind the wheel.

Last year, the designated driver program significantly contributed to the safest summer holiday weekend travel period in the past decade on Ohio roadways.

Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day comprise the summer holiday weekend travel periods.

The patrol credited the motoring public with helping to create safer highways, particularly during what is traditionally a deadly holiday weekend.

Last Fourth of July weekend, two of the seven fatal crashes in Ohio involved alcohol. Lt. Carl Roark