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For Immediate Release
March 15, 2012
Contact: Troy Green, 202-366-9550


WASHINGTON, DC – As Americans around the country prepare to mark the St. Patrick's Day holiday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding drivers not to get behind the wheel if they've had too much to drink. NHTSA analyses show alcohol-impaired crashes claimed a life every 51 minutes in 2010. On St Patrick's Day alone, 32 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving.

Whether your plans include gathering with friends at the local pub, hosting a party, or attending a local parade, NHTSA is urging everyone to designate a sober driver. The agency also offers the following safety tips:

  • Designate your sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If you don't have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Use your community's sober ride program.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink.
  • Always buckle up – it's still your best defense against other drunk drivers.

If you are hosting a party:

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
  • Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange alternate transportation.
  • Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol some time before the end of the party and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.

NOTE: NHTSA statistical data define the St. Patrick's Day holiday as 6 a.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.

For information on NHTSA's “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving Campaign” please visit www.nhtsa.gov view the agency's Facebook page, or follow the discussion on Twitter at Twitter.com/@buzzeddriving.