Hamilton, NJ — Saint Patrick’s Day is well known as a day to celebrate by eating and drinking with friends and family; however, AAA Mid-Atlantic warns it is also one of the deadliest days on the roadway.

“With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Monday this year, many revelers will plan an extended weekend of festivities and alcohol consumption that may lead motorists down a path of destruction.  AAA Mid-Atlantic is advising motorists not to press their luck, but to plan ahead.  Designate a sober driver, take a taxi or use public transportation to ensure a safe ride home,” advised Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. 

 

In 2011, every 53 minutes a person was killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States according to an analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).   On St. Patrick’s Day that year, 34 percent of motor vehicle fatalities were connected to drunk driving.

“All alcohol-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities are preventable,” added Noble.  “These are not statistics, they are people that would still be here today if someone did not choose to drink and drive.  Driving while intoxicated is a mistake that can cost you, your friends, family and other motorists their precious lives.  We plead with everyone to plan ahead, drive sober or designate a sober driver.”

To prevent senseless tragedies from occurring, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day celebration:

           

If you’re venturing out to a pub or attending a St. Patrick’s Day party, plan ahead.

  •        Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  •        Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  •        If you’ve been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  •        If you see a driver on the road that you suspect is impaired, contact local police.
  •        And remember, if you see people who are about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

If you’re hosting the party where alcohol is being served, be a responsible host.

  •        Have food and non-alcoholic beverages available.
  •        Remember that it takes 40 minutes or longer for alcohol from a drink to be absorbed.
  •        Take note of who’s coming, who drinks, and who drives.
  •        Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  •        Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before your guests start to leave for home
  •        Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.