Don't depend on good luck
Avoid driving while impaired on St. Patrick's Day

If St. Patrick’s Day celebrations include green beer or other spirits, don’t depend on good luck to get home. ITD reminds motorists to make the right choice to drink responsibly and not drive impaired.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a big night out for many Americans – especially young adults,” said Kevin Bechen with ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety. “Driving while impaired puts everyone on the roads at risk, so if you choose to drink, don’t drive.”

Statewide, an impaired driving high-visibility education and enforcement campaign is under way through March 22.

ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety works to reduce deaths and injuries from traffic crashes by utilizing federal funds to address dangerous driving behaviors. This effort is part of the department’s commitment to achieve a goal of zero deaths on Idaho’s highways.

Bechen encourages partygoers to make the right choice and plan a safe way home before any festivities begin.

For a safer St. Patrick’s Day, Bechen offers a few simple reminders:

  • Whenever alcohol will be consumed, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person the car keys.
  • If impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member to get home safely.
  • Use available sober rides programs.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers seen on roadways to law enforcement.
  • Wear a seat belt. It is the only defense in a crash caused by an impaired driver.

“Driving any vehicle – including a motorcycle – when ‘buzzed’ or drunk is wrong and not worth the risk,” he said. “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 many other expenses, Bechen said.

Published 3-11`-2011