Law Enforcement Urge Safe St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick's DayImage by Jill Wellington

BUCKS COUNTY, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania DUI Association, Bucks County District Attorney, Warrington Township Police Department, and AAA, held an event Thursday at the Bucks County Justice Center to outline regional impaired driving safety efforts during St. Patrick’s Day.

“This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, and that means more parties throughout the weekend,” said Warrington Township Police Chief Daniel Friel. “If you’ve been drinking, make the smart choice to plan for a sober driver to get you and your friend’s home safely. Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day become an anniversary of a tragic night.”

“We understand that people will enjoy themselves on St. Paddy’s Day. But there is no excuse for anyone to drink or do drugs and drive,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “There are too many responsible options for people to use instead. Use a designated driver, call a cab, call a parent or a friend, use Lyft or Uber, to name a few. Just be safe!”

According to PennDOT data, in the Philadelphia region during the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period beginning at 6:00 PM on Friday, March 11, running through 6:00 AM on Sunday, March 20, there were 70 crashes involving an impaired driver, resulting in two fatalities.

“Drunk drivers are a continuing problem on our nation’s roads, especially around days like St. Patrick’s Day,” said PennDOT Safety Press Officer Krys Johnson. “People need to know that they can go out for a night of fun and return home safely by ensuring they have a sober driver take them home. Don’t be the reason someone – including yourself – doesn’t get home.”

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Party with a Plan

  • Plan ahead: If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make a smart decision, you might not. Before you have one drink, designate a sober driver who won’t be drinking.
  • You have options: Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a rideshare service. Getting home safely is always worth it.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously, and don’t drink.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and let a sober driver get your friend home safely.

A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds unsafe driving behaviors rose from 2020 to 2021. The most alarming increase was among drivers admitting to getting behind the wheel after drinking enough that they felt they were over the legal limit – an increase of nearly 24%. This is a reversal in the steady declines in these dangerous driving behaviors in the three years from 2018 through 2020.

“Don’t rely on the ‘luck of the Irish’ this St. Patrick’s Day,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public and Government Affairs Jana Tidwell. “Whether you’re attending a house party or pub crawl, if alcohol is part of the festivities make sure you designate a sober driver, use rideshares such as Lyft or Uber, or take public transportation to ensure you get home safely. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. There’s no excuse.”

To learn more about PennDOT’s highway safety efforts, visit www.penndot.pa.gov/safety.

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