St. Patrick’s Day Safety Takes Planning, CHP Says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. March 14, 2019 – The celebrations and parties that may highlight St. Patrick’s Day often lead to tragedy, when impaired drivers take to the roads. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) urge people to make planning safe rides as much a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations as wearing green.

On March 17, 2018, one person was killed and 48 were injured in collisions caused by driving under the influence (DUI) in California. Statewide, 131 people were involved in DUI collisions on St. Patrick’s Day in 2018. The CHP also made 285 arrests for DUI that day.

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“When you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, remember the other people on the road and in your vehicle,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Do not let alcohol or drugs cause you to become a risk to yourself and others.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration describes March 17 as one of the deadliest holidays on America’s roads. During the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, 37 percent of all crash fatalities involved drunken drivers.

“Drinking and driving don’t mix,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “We want people to enjoy the holiday, but be responsible about how they get home once the celebrations end.”

Plan a sober ride in advance if a celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, pedestrians, or other drivers and passengers nearby. The financial impact alone of a DUI can be sobering. Attorneys’ fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, and car repairs can reach $15,000 or more in California. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security. The OTS administers traffic safety programs with the goal of reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses.