St. Patrick’s Day is among the year’s biggest drinking holidays. It has also become one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to the number of impaired drivers on the roads. A drunken car crash can be devastating, and possibly even fatal. An arrest for drunk driving can be harmful to a person’s career, pocket-book and ability to continue exercising their driving privileges. The California Office of Traffic Safety reminds people that the costs of DUIs run beyond the risk of injury or death to yourself or others. There are car repairs, hospital bills, legal fees, bail, higher insurance rates, fines, court costs, lost time at work, and more.
Across the nation on St. Patrick’s Day between 2010 and 2014, there were 266 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes. That is why police all over the country will be stepping up patrols and looking out for impaired drivers. Last year on St. Patrick’s Day, the California Highway Patrol made more than 120 arrests for driving under the influence.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, in 2014, 28 percent of all crash fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk drivers. The post-party hours of midnight to 6:00 a.m. the following morning were the most dangerous times of the holiday. Pedestrians walking while intoxicated are also at an increased risk of getting hit by vehicles. In 2014, 35 percent of the pedestrians killed in crashes had blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher.
St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday this year, which could mean more people are out drinking than last year, when it fell on a Tuesday. It should come as a surprise to no one that when a person is drinking, decision making skills are not at their sharpest. It is always best to plan ahead, be aware of public transportation, and always have a designated driver (even if that driver is Uber, Lyft, or a cab).
So this year, while drinking your green Guinness and whiskey, keep three things in mind: law enforcement will be out looking for impaired drivers, if you are sober and out driving, be aware that other drivers may be impaired, and buzzed driving is drunk driving.