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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk This St. Patrick’s Day

Designate a Sober Driver Before the Party Begins

Across the United States, St. Patrick's Day is a popular night to celebrate with friends and family. But because of the large volume of impaired drivers, the night out has unfortunately become very dangerous.

Close to half (44%) of the 105 drivers and motorcyclists involved in the fatal crashes last St. Patrick’s Day (2006) had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. This figure is considered to be over the limit and illegal in all states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Of those impaired drivers and motorcyclists, 63% with a BAC of .08 and higher died in a crash.

The consequences of driving a car or motorcycle while impaired are serious, real and not worth the risk. You are risking killing yourself or someone else, and the suffering and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be devastating.

Drunk driving violators will most likely face jail time, losing their driver's license, skyrocketing insurance rates, and countless other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.

In many jurisdictions, refusing to take a sobriety test may result in the loss of your license on the spot and the impoundment of your vehicle. Afterwards, you'll experience the profound humiliation, embarrassment, and consequences of informing family, friends and employers of your serious mistake.

Whether meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending the big parade, if you plan on drinking alcohol, please don’t drive.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing your life and the lives of the others who may be on the road.

  • Before the partying begins, plan a safe way home.
  • Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys before drinking.
  • To get home safely if you become impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
    - If your community has a Sober Rides program in place, use it.
    - If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement immediately.
    - If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Please, do not forget that Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Designate your sober driver before the St. Patrick’s Day parties begin.

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