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The Trio of College Basketball, Friday Holiday, And Potential For Rain/Snow Showers Could Make For An Exceptionally Dangerous Day On The Road
Hamilton, NJ (March 16, 2017) — For many, St. Patrick’s Day is sometimes a day-long celebration with family and friends, that may involve alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, this can also lead to a large volume of impaired drivers making the day a very dangerous one. As St. Patrick's Day approaches, and this year the holiday falls on a Friday, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding drivers not to get behind the wheel if they've been drinking.
“Whether you will be gathering with friends at a house party or on a pub crawl at a downtown location, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver, call a taxi, ride share such as with Lyft or Uber, or take public transportation to ensure you get you home safely,” advises Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This year the potential for crashes is greater with the holiday falling on a Friday, the chance for rain or snow showers Friday night, and the day-long college basketball tournament on TV, which is often an alcohol-involved pastime.”
Nationwide, alcohol-impaired driving crashes are on the rise, from 9,943 in 2014 to 10,265 in 2015, an increase of 3.2 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) from 2011 to 2015, 252 people were killed nationwide due to drunk- driving crashes, based on statistics from NHTSA.
In 2015, alone, 30 people (25 percent of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period. During post-party hours, between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly a third of crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, drinking and driving violations are expected to jump compared to the holiday being on a weekday.
“Drivers are also advised to keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink and may jaywalk and not obey traffic signals,” said Noble. “Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention and coordination puts drunk pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. Pub crawlers are urged to keep an eye out for cars, cross at intersections, and obey walk signals.”
To prevent senseless tragedies from occurring, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day celebration:
If you’re venturing out to a pub or attending a St. Patrick’s Day party, plan ahead:
Before heading out the door to a house party or favorite pub, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive – you can’t do both.
If you will drink, designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely or plan to call a taxi, Uber, Lyft or a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
If you plan on driving, commit to staying sober.
If you see a driver on the road that you suspect is impaired, pull over to a safe spot and call 911, giving police a description of the vehicle.
And remember, if you see people who are about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
If you’re hosting a 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.
NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app is option that is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store. The app helps people who have been drinking get a safe ride home; it helps users call a taxi or a friend and identifies their location so they can be picked up.
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