Every year in the U.S., there are certain holidays that are routinely celebrated by having a few (or many) drinks. The Thursday before Thanksgiving is one such holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is another.
The St. Patrick’s Day celebration is officially defined as beginning at 6:00 A.M. on March 16 and continuing through until 5:59 A.M. on March 18. During this time, our Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident attorneys know that the risk of a becoming involved in a drunk driving accident increases.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also concerned about the increase in the number of people who drive drunk on the St. Patrick’s day holiday. On Friday, March 15, NHTSA issued a consumer advisory urging celebrators to stay sober if they planned to drive home. NHTSA also provided some tips for party-goers and party-throwers.
Tips for Staying Safe on St. Patrick’s Day
According to NHTSA, a drunk driving crash resulted in a death once every 53 minutes in 2011. On big drinking days like St. Patrick’s day, drivers were more likely to get into serious accidents or even fatal accidents as a result of drunk driving, so there may be a disproportionate number of DUI-deaths during this time of celebration. In fact, according to the NHTSA release, 34 percent of fatal car crashes on St. Patrick’s were connected to impaired or intoxicated driving.
These risks are serious ones that drivers should not take lightly. Those plan to go out and celebrate the day need to make smart choices about avoiding drunk driving. NHTSA tips include:
- Determining if your community has a sober ride program and, if so, taking advantage of the program for a ride home.
- Arranging for a designated driver to transport you in advance of starting your evening out. You and all of your friends should be clear on who the designated driver is and that person needs to be truly committed to staying sober all night. It is always best to decide who is going to be the DD before any alcohol is consumer.
- If you don’t have a designated driver or a safe ride home, call a friend, call a family member, call a cab or stay put until you sober up.
- Stop your friends from driving drunk. If you can, provide them with a safe ride home or arrange for transportation with a driver who isn’t trunk.
- Make sure you never get into a car with anyone who is drunk. An intoxicated driver is dangerous not only to himself but also to passengers and others who may be on the road at the same time.
NHTSA also offers some important words of advice to those having guests over for parties. If you invite friends into your home, you become responsible for making sure they stay sober and safe. You can do this by taking away the keys of people who have been drinking, making sure people have a designated driver, arranging for cabs and rides, or driving intoxicated people home yourself. You should also consider ending the alcohol service a few hours before the party ends, switching to deserts and coffee instead. Finally, be sure that you have plenty of food available as well as non-alcoholic beverages for the designated drivers.
Finally, NHTSA cautions that everyone needs to wear their seat belts when driving over St. Patrick’s day weekend. This is the best defense you have in case you become the innocent victim of someone who has decided to drive drunk.