As St. Patrick's Day approaches March 17, the transportation department reminds motorists that "buzzed" driving is considered drunk driving, and law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will be out in full force to catch and arrest impaired drivers.
"St. Patrick's Day has become a big night out for many Americans - especially young adults," said Kevin Bechen with ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety. "It has also become a dangerous night on our highways due to impaired drivers.
"This year, the risk may even be greater since many of the traditional festivities will take place on a Saturday night," Bechen said. "Unfortunately, too many people still don't understand that alcohol and driving don't mix."
In 2005, 36 percent of all traffic fatalities in Idaho
were a result of impaired driving. Wearing a seat belt is still the
best defense in a crash caused by a drunk driver - 70 percent of the
motor vehicle occupants killed by drunk drivers in 2005 were not buckled
"Driving any vehicle - including a motorcycle - when buzzed or drunk is simply wrong and not worth the risk," said Bechen. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving are significant."
Violators face jail time, loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, unpaid time away from work and dozens of other expense, he said.