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March 14, 2014
Wear Green St. Patrick's Day, But Avoid the Handcuffs!
Virginia State Police Conducting DUI Patrols & Checkpoints

RICHMOND – Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but not everyone designates a sober driver. Whether you are celebrating the green, white, and orange March 17th or this weekend, be smart and safe about it. If you drive – only drive sober.

Virginia State Police troopers will be on patrol during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend to look for and remove drunk drivers off the highways. State Police will conduct DUI patrols and checkpoints across the Commonwealth in an effort to prevent, deter, and apprehend anyone who chooses to make the decision to drive impaired.

Unfortunately, drunk drivers have made the holiday a dangerous one. National statistics show between 2007-2011, more than 269 individuals lost their lives because of a drunk driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.* Nationwide, in 2011, one person was killed, on average, every 53 minutes in a drunk driving-related crash. Overall, in Virginia, 229 motorists and/or passengers were killed because of an alcohol-related crash in 2012. **

“Drunk driving is 100-percent irresponsible and preventable. It’s tragic to lose someone to an alcohol- related crash because the choice was not made to simply drive sober or not at all,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The cost of a cab ride is far less expensive than the cost of a DUI conviction. Designate a sober driver and don’t jeopardize lives on the road.”

Have a safe St. Patrick’s Day and commit to following these commonsense steps:

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • Before you start drinking, please designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • Northern Virginians can take advantage of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) Sober Ride program at 1-800-200-TAXI.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to dial #77 to notify your nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center.
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration*
Virginia DMV, Highway Safety Office **