March 11, 2022 | Washington, DC
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges everyone to drink responsibly during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. The international celebration is often recognized by adults as a time for gatherings at bars and pubs. Unfortunately, one night of drinking can lead to deadly consequences if plans aren’t made to get home safely.
During the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18), more than a third (36%) of crash fatalities involved a drunk driver. In fact, from 2016 to 2020, 287 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day period.
“Please remember, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you plan to drink this St. Patrick’s Day, plan ahead for a safe way home,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.
According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2020. On average, one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020.
Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly. In 2020, 30% of the pedestrians killed in traffic crashes had blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08. Pedestrians who have been drinking should also arrange for a sober ride or for a sober friend to walk them home.
NHTSA encourages everyone to take the following safety precautions:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Designate a sober driver or a call a ride service to get home safely.
- Never let a friend drive drunk. Arrange a safe and sober way for them to get home.
- If you’re the designated driver, make sure you don’t drink so you can keep that promise of safety to yourself and your passengers.
- Don't ride in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement to report the driver.
If you’re hosting a party:
- Make sure all your guests designate their sober drivers in advance.
- Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
- Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party and keep serving non-alcoholic drinks and food.
- Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving after drinking and get them a ride home.
For more information about the Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving campaign, visit TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.