St. Patrick’s Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, and good luck. But not even the luck of the Irish can protect you from the risks of driving after drinking. The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program encourage those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to ensure they have the best good luck charm of all – a sober designated driver.
Beginning today, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina are stepping up their efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads. Officers will be on patrol day and night to catch drivers who make the decision to get behind the wheel after consuming too many Irish-themed spirits. The St. Patrick’s Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign will run throughout the weekend and end on Tuesday, March 17.
“Don’t rely on luck to save you from a drunk driving crash,” said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Choose before you booze. Having a plan in advance and a sober designated driver is the only way to avoid the life-changing consequences of drunk driving.”
In 2014, there were 340 alcohol-related deaths in North Carolina. Each of these deaths was 100 percent preventable.
To save lives this St. Patrick’s Day and throughout the year, NCDOT and GHSP offer a party-planning checklist to stay safe and save lives:
NOW: Even if you don’t have plans yet, plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. Save the number of a taxi company in your phone so you always have a backup plan.
WHEN YOU MAKE PLANS: A sober driver is an essential part of any party plan. Once you know where you’ll celebrate, decide whether you’re drinking or driving. You can only choose one.
ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. If you’re the designated driver, don’t drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and brag about your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver. Only drive sober or ride with a sober driver.
EVERY DAY: If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Drunk driving has fatal consequences. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police immediately. You could save a life.
Tennessee Highway Patrol to Increase Visibility During St. Patrick’s Day
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced that state troopers will increase visibility and traffic safety enforcement efforts during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The 48-hour traffic safety campaign will begin at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17 and conclude at midnight, Wednesday, March 18.
“St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a very festive holiday, and we want to remind motorists that drinking and driving will not be tolerated. State troopers will proactively enforce DUI laws to help prevent fatal crashes and save lives across Tennessee,” Colonel Trott said. “Seat belt safety is also a top priority. We will aggressively seek seat belt violators – another major cause of traffic fatalities – across the state,” he added.
Last year, four people were killed in vehicular crashes during the 48-hour St. Patty’s Day holiday period. One of the traffic fatalities occurred in an alcohol-related crash, while none of the four individuals killed were wearing safety restraints.
The THP arrested 54 individuals on suspicion of impaired driving and issued 416 seat belt citations statewide during last year’s St. Patty’s Day holiday period.
During this St. Patrick’s holiday, state troopers will utilize traffic enforcement tools, such as, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks to maximize public safety on Tennessee roadways.
To date, preliminary statistics indicate that 157 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2015, compared to 171 traffic fatalities during the same time period in 2014.
THP scheduled enforcements for this St. Patrick’s Day holiday are attached, as well as statistical data for the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day period.
For more information on the consequences of impaired driving in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/safety/duioutline.htm.
PATRICK’S DAY DRIVING TIPS
- Plan Ahead. If you plan to drink, arrange a safe way home before the festivities begin.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
- If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use public transportation, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
- Use the local Sober Ride program.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, promptly contact your local law enforcement agency or dial *THP (*847) from a mobile phone.
- Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you or someone who is about to ride with someone who is impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
- And remember, the tragedies and costs of driving drunk are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for drunk driving are significant.