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Virginia State Police urges safe driving on St. Patrick’s Day

st. patrick's dayFor millions of Americans, partying is in the plan this St. Patrick’s Day, but Virginia State Police wants to remind those celebrating to plan for a safe ride home.

Unfortunately on March 17, the number of drunk drivers on the road makes St. Patrick’s Day one of the deadliest holidays. Every 72 minutes during the holiday, a life is claimed in an alcohol-related crash. Virginia State Police will be increasing patrols to deter and detect those motorists who choose to drive under the influence.

Between 2011 and 2015, 252 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes during St. Patrick’s Day nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, from 6 p.m. March 16, to 5:59 a.m. March 18, 25 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.*

“Buzzed or drunk driving puts everyone’s life at risk,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Impaired driving claimed 241 lives on Virginia’s highways in 2015 and each of these deaths was 100% preventable. There is no excuse for it when today’s technology allows you to call for a ride at the press of a button. A rideshare will cost you a few dollars, but driving drunk could cost someone their life.”

According to personal finance website WalletHub, the average St. Patrick’s Day partier will spent $38. The average cost of a taxi in the U.S, which is one of many options for a safe ride this holiday, is just $11-$18.

Did you know NHTSA has a SaferRide app which is available for Android and Apple users? The app can help call a taxi, or a friend for a ride home or identify your location so you can be picked up. For more information:

Let’s make 2017 safer. Plan Before You Party:

  • Ensure you have a designated sober driver before any drinking begins.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call for a rideshare such as Uber or Lyft, call a friend or family member or stay where you are if possible.
  • Consider using your local community’s Sober Rides program – in Northern Virginia call 1-800-200-TAXI;
  • To drink and drive is a crime. If you witness a drunk driver on the road, dial #77 on a cell phone for the nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center or call 911;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help them make arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
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