Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reminds Drivers to Designate a Sober Driver Before This Year’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

| Washington, DC

NHTSA 08-14
Friday, March 14, 2014
Contact: Derrell Lyles, 202-366-9550,

WASHINGTON – As St. Patrick's Day approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging the public to celebrate responsibly and never drive drunk. According to the agency's latest fatality data, 105 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes on this holiday in 2012.

The agency offers the following safety tips if your plans include drinking as part of your celebration:

  • Before the celebrations begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home, before drinking.
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If available, use your community's sober ride program.
  • If you are walking home be sure to have a sober friend walk with you.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police. You could save a life.
  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive a vehicle or motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

If you are hosting a party:

  • Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange alternate transportation.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the phone number of local cab companies on hand, take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk and get them a cab ride home.
  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
  • If an underage person drinks and drives, parents may be held liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
  • Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to, or host a party where alcohol is available to, those under age 21 could face jail time.

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, view the agency's Facebook page, or follow the discussion on Twitter at

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