The message is very
simple: Keep the streets safe this St. Patrick's Day by drinking
responsibly and designating a sober driver before heading to the
local parade or pub. Don't risk arrest for driving under the
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration show that over the past five years, 851 people lost
their lives in motor vehicles crashes during the St. Patrick's Day
holiday. Out of that number, 327 were killed in crashes that
involved a drunk driver (blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or
higher). Over the past five years in Illinois, 26 people lost their
lives in those motor vehicle crashes, and three of the fatalities
involved a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
"There is no excuse for impaired driving. It is irresponsible,
and it is deadly," said IDOT Traffic Safety Director Mike Stout.
"St. Patrick's Day is supposed to be a time to celebrate Irish
heritage and gather with friends, but it can quickly end in tragedy
due to impaired driving. If you plan on drinking, do not rely on
luck to keep you safe or to keep you out of trouble. Be responsible
and designate a sober driver."
Unfortunately, impaired drivers are frequently present on
Illinois roads, risking their lives and the lives of those with whom
they share the road. During holiday weekends such as St. Patrick's
Day, the risk can increase because of an even greater
impaired-driving threat. To combat impaired driving, the Department
of Transportation, state police, county and municipal police
agencies are partnering to step up impaired-driving enforcement,
with IDOT funding overtime hours that place more officers on the
"The Illinois State Police and local law enforcement will remain
vigilant in their enforcement efforts over the St. Patrick's Day
weekend," said ISP Director Larry G. Trent. "Individuals who drive
while impaired will be arrested. If you are going to include alcohol
in your celebration plans, designate a sober driver. Motorists are
also reminded to buckle up and to obey the ‘move-over law' (Scott's
Law) to ensure a safe holiday weekend."
Beginning today and continuing around St. Patrick's Day, IDOT is
making available over $500,000 in federal highway safety dollars to
fund additional roadside safety checks, saturation patrols and other
impaired-driving countermeasures. This stepped-up effort will be
accompanied by strong local educational efforts, encouraging the use
of designated drivers, but also reminding motorists of the risk of
arrest if they drive impaired.
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There is no luck involved. Just follow these simple steps so you can
enjoy a safe St. Patrick's Day without jeopardizing your life and
the lives of others on the road.
If you are hosting a party:
Remember, you can
be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in
an impaired-driving crash.
Make sure all of
your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help
arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
Serve lots of food
and include plenty of nonalcoholic beverages at the party.
Keep the numbers for local cab
companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is
thinking of driving impaired.
If you are attending a party:
sober driver BEFORE the party begins and give that person your
If you do not have
a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a
cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up; or just 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
Always buckle up
-- it is still your best defense against an impaired driver.
Luck will not get
you home safely this St. Patrick's Day. Designate your sober
driver before the party begins.
For more information about the Division
of Traffic Safety's impaired driving and safety campaigns, visit
Department of Transportation
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]