NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — With the Fourth of July coming up, many people will be celebrating the holiday in a number of ways, and with the celebrations come alcohol.

However, people should think first before getting behind the wheel after having drinks with friends and family.

The Fourth of July is a time when many Americans are celebrating our country’s independence.

But unfortunately this time of year, the number of car crashes goes up.

In fact, according to autoinsurance.org, the Fourth of July is the third deadliest holiday to drive.

“Just in general, we have more fatal accidents. Memorial Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July weekend so that’s something we’re definitely looking to avoid,” said Sgt. Sam Mahoney with the Ward County Sheriff’s Department.

Drinking and driving will not just hurt you, it could also injure others and you can face serious consequences if you’re caught.

“Drinking and driving, you guys could get pulled over by any of the law enforcement that are out there. You could be cited with DUI, reckless driving, depending on if your vehicle is moving or not,” said Mahoney.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2016 to 2020, nearly 1,400 drivers were killed in crashes over the Fourth of July holiday and 41% of those drivers killed were drunk.

Driving while impaired is a serious offense, and can be punished by getting your driver’s license suspended or jail time.

While the department does not want people behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, the staff still wants the public to have fun.

But the most important thing to remember is to be safe.

“If you’re gonna drink this Fourth of July, we just want you guys to be safe about it. Plan a sober ride ahead of time, and just know that being in the hot weather, alcohol is going to affect you faster than it would in the cold,” said Mahoney.