March 12, 2014
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 roadways.
According to 2011 data provided by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 34 percent of motor vehicle fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day were connected to drunk driving
“This weekend signifies for many a long weekend of festival celebrations and alcohol consumption that may lead motorists down a path of destruction if not planned properly,” advised Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA is advising motorists not to press their luck, but to plan ahead and designate a trusted and sober driver for the weekend.”
There were 95 alcohol-related vehicle crashes in the Commonwealth during Saint Patrick’s Weekend last year (Friday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17), resulting in 44 injuries and three deaths.
To help avoid the dangers associated with drinking and driving, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips:
- If you plan to drive, don’t drink.
- If you plan to drink, pre-select your designated driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
- If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come get you; or stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
- Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
- 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.