XENIA — St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, and the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition is reminding drivers not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 269 people have been senselessly killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2007 to 2011. Those fatalities were preventable.
“When you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, just be smart about it. If you know you’re going to drink—whether with friends at a pub or attending a local party — designate a sober driver ahead of time or call a taxi to make sure you get home safely,” said Laurie Fox, Public Information Officer for the Greene County Combined Health District and Safe Communities Coordinator. There’s never an excuse for driving after drinking.”
According to NHTSA in 2011, on average, one person was killed every 53 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in the United States. Most of these crashes involved drunk drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations of .15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit of .08.
To prevent these tragedies from occurring, Fox recommends the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day:
- Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
- Before drinking, 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 to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police. You could save a life.
And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.