March 14, 2016 10:37 ET

Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

Keep the Streets Safe This St. Patrick's Day; Don't Drink and Drive

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Mar 14, 2016) - As one of the country's most popular holidays, St. Patrick's Day has long celebrated the roots of 34.2 million Americans with Irish ancestry, and many more who just want to partake in the festivities. But, tragically, March 17 has also become one of the nation's deadliest holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2010 to 2014, there were a total of 266 drunk-driving fatalities during the St. Patrick's Day Holiday period. In 2014 alone, 18 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on St. Patrick's Day (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18). And more than a quarter (28%) of all motor vehicle crashes during that period involved drunk drivers.

"Designate a sober driver before you and your friends go out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day," said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator, NHTSA Region 7. "Do not wait until you've already been drinking to find a sober driver. Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Even one drink is dangerous if you are behind the wheel of a car."

Let's make 2016 safer. Use this party-planning checklist to stay safe this St. Patrick's Day.

  • PARTY PREPARATION: Designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely. Find the name of a taxi company or car service and keep the numbers in your phone, or download the free NHTSA SaferRide app, available for Android and Apple. Using your location, the app can find a taxi nearby, as well as help you contact a friend from your selected list of contacts.

  • ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. Ensure your designated driver has committed to a sober evening. If you're the designated driver, do not drink. Your friends are relying on you, as are the people with whom you share the road. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and tweet your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver.

  • EVERY DAY: First, commit to driving sober today, St. Patrick's Day, and every day. Second, always keep the number of a taxi company or car service in your phone or in your wallet so you have a backup plan if you find yourself in need of a sober driver. Last, be sure to download NHTSA's SaferRide app. If you're impaired, don't let pride get in the way of calling a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. Help spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving, and the resources available to keep the streets safe.

Fact: In the year 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. That's, on average, 1 person killed every 53 minutes because someone decided to drink and drive. Too many people are not getting the message. Drunk driving is deadly and illegal.

To drink and drive is a crime -- you put yourself at risk, as well as others. The consequences are often fatal. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police when it is safe to do so. You could save a life.

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Contact Information

    Ginny Vineyard