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Don’t Depend on Dumb Luck—Designate a Sober Driver Before the Party Begins

On average, every 51 minutes a person is killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States, and the majority of these crashes involve drunk drivers who have nearly twice the legal blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

For many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day (celebrated this year from 6 p.m., March 16, to 5:59 a.m., March 18) has become a popular opportunity to celebrate with friends and family.

Unfortunately, due to drunk drivers, the festivities have also become very dangerous.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety show that over 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday during the period from 2006 to 2010. There were 129 lives lost in 2010 alone.
These tragic statistics demand a sober solution. Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade, if you plan on drinking alcohol, please don’t drive.

Drunk-Driving Prevention
Following these easy steps, drivers can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their lives and the lives of others who may be on the road.

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community’s sober ride program [insert your local sober ride specifics here].
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride with someone who is impaired, help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. If a friend is drunk and wants to drive, encourage him (her) not to, even if it means taking his (her) keys away.

Impaired Driving Creates Serious Consequences
Driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired is not worth the risk. The consequences are serious and can last a lifetime. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant.

Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.

Refusing to take a sobriety test in many jurisdictions may result in the loss of your license on the spot and enhanced penalties, not to mention the added embarrassment, humiliation, and consequences after informing family, friends and employers.

Please remember to designate your sober driver before the St. Patrick’s Day parties begin.
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