ITD urges drivers to avoid driving impaired during St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s most popular times to celebrate and party. But unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking alcohol, making the holiday one of our most dangerous. In fact, 30 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes across the nation during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period in 2015.

In an effort to reduce the number of crashes on Idaho roads, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is teaming up with law enforcement agencies across the state in a high-visibility enforcement.

“As we prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, it’s important, as a state, to set a benchmark that drinking and driving is simply not acceptable,” said Ken Corder, ITD’s impaired driving program manager.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 252 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk-driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours after midnight.

“Too many lives are lost this time each year and together with increased DUI law enforcement and good citizen decision making, we can keep Idaho on track for zero deaths,” said Corder.

If you plan to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, please follow these tips to stay safe:

– Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.

– If you’re planning on driving, commit to staying sober. If you’ve been out drinking and then get behind the wheel, you run the risk of causing a crash or getting arrested for a DUI.

– If you have been drinking, call a taxi or sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

– Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which helps users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home and identify their location so they can be picked up.

– Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention could put you at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

– Help those around you be responsible, too. If someone you know is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel and help them find a sober ride home.

– If you see someone who appears to be driving drunk, call the police. Your actions could help save a life.

Published 03-17-17