St. Patrick’s Day brings Americans together, Irish or not, to celebrate Irish heritage over a pint of green beer or Irish coffee. Unfortunately, all this merry-making can lead to dangerous driving conditions as party-goers head home.
This year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to remind everyone of the dangers of buzzed driving. Buzzed driving is drunk driving and even one drink can be one too many. If you’re planning to drink during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, plan ahead for a sober ride home.
According to the agency, March 17th has become a dangerous holiday on our nation’s roads. During the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday, more than one-third (37%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. And cars aren’t the only risk. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday for our communities, but we need to remind everyone that they are responsible for their actions,” said NHTSA Region 7 Administrator, Susan DeCourcy. “This means planning for a sober ride home. Don’t let alcohol cause you to be a risk to yourself and others on the road. Before you put your keys in the ignition, remind yourself, buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you feel a buzz, you are in no shape to drive.”
Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road. Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem. If drivers are impaired by any substance—alcohol or drugs—they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Driving while impaired is illegal, period.
There are many resources available to get home safely. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Use public transportation or a rideshare service. Download the NHTSA SaferRide mobile app, which connects those in need of a sober ride with a taxi or friend to pick them up. Law enforcement partners will make zero exceptions for drunk or drugged driving this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.