St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is reminding drivers not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that since 2007, at least 270 people were senselessly killed nationwide in crashes involving drunken drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. 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 bar or attending a party —designate a sober driver ahead of time or call a taxi to make sure you get home safely,” KOHS Director Bill Bell said. “There’s never an excuse for driving after drinking.”
According to NHTSA, on average, one person was killed every 51 minutes in a drunken-driving crash in the United States in 2012, the latest year available for national statistics. Most of those crashes involved drunken drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08.
To prevent tragedies from occurring, KOHS recommends the following steps for 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 drunken 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 them safely to where they are going.
Adding one more tool to combat drinking and driving, KOHS partnered with Mobile Life Solutions last year to develop a “No DUI Kentucky” application.
With information about local taxi services and sober ride programs, along with a one-touch dial feature to report a drunken driver and a link to Kentucky’s HERO designated driver campaign website, the app aids in the fight against drunken driving.