Don’t depend on luck when driving this St. Patrick’s Day

The proverbial "Luck of the Irish" is an intriguing concept, but it doesn't extend to driving and alcohol consumption. Mixing the two can have dire consequences whether you're Irish or not.

Safe travel to and from St. Patrick’s Day festivities requires a determination to not drive after drinking, ITD reminds motorists.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a big night out for many Americans – especially young adults,” said Kevin Bechen of ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “Driving while impaired puts everyone on the roads at risk, so if you choose to drink, choose not to drive.”

A statewide impaired driving high-visibility education and enforcement campaign will begin Sunday and continue through March 18.

ITD’s Office of Highway Safety works to eliminate deaths and reduce injuries from traffic crashes by using federal funds to address dangerous driving behaviors. The effort is part of the ITD's commitment reaching zero deaths on Idaho’s highways.

For a safer St. Patrick’s Day, Bechen offers a few simple reminders:

  • If alcohol will be consumed, designate a sober driver before going and give that person the car keys. If impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member to get home safely.
  • Use available sober-rides programs.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement at *ISP.
  • Wear your seat belt while in your car or use a helmet and protective gear when on a motorcycle. These are the best defenses against an impaired driver.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and help make other safe-travel arrangements.

“Driving any vehicle – including a motorcycle – when ‘buzzed’ or drunk is wrong and not worth the risk,” he said. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving are significant.”

Violators face jail time, loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, unpaid time away from work and many other expenses, Bechen said.

Published 3-8-13