Director, Public and Government Affairs, DE
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312
WILMINGTON, DE (March 16, 2017) – For many, St. Patrick’s Day has become a day-long celebration with family and friends, often involving alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, this can also lead to a large volume of impaired drivers making the day a very dangerous one. Adding to the dangers this year is the holiday falling on a Friday, the potential for rain, and a full day of college basketball games on TV, often watched at bars or house parties.
As St. Patrick's Day approaches, 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, 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 home safely,” advised Ken Grant, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
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).
The Delaware State Police report that in 2015, there were 61 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 587 alcohol-related traffic injuries.
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.
The consequences of driving impaired are not worth the risks. Drunk driving can result in death, jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates, as well as dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, lost wages, and vehicle towing and repairs.
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, ride share, 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.
“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 Grant. “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.”
NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app is an option 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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Wilmington, DE 19801
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 140,000 members in Delaware. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.