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March 13, 2015
Don't Let the End of Your Rainbow Be a Jail Cell; Designate a Sober Driver St. Patrick's Day & Drive to Save Lives
Virginia State Police Reminds Everyone Buzzed Driving is Still Drunk Driving

RICHMOND – With three days left until St. Patrick’s Day, the clock is ticking to find a designated driver because choosing one isn’t being lucky, but smart. If you are one of the many celebrating at a festival, street party or attending a parade this weekend or March 17, remember Virginia State Police will be on patrol looking for individuals who fail to make the responsible choice and choose to drink and drive.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide 40 percent of all fatal crashes involved drunk drivers the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day (between the hours of 6 p.m., March 16, to 5:59 a.m., March 18) in 2013. The early morning hours were especially deadly during that same time period. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, a drunk driver was responsible for half of all crash fatalities nationwide.

“Let’s face it, drunk driving is a choice and a reckless one, so drive sober because troopers take a zero tolerance to this behavior,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Impaired driving alone claimed 253 lives on Virginia’s highways in 2013.* Too many individuals lives are at stake when someone makes the irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel after consuming too many drinks. Be smart. Be responsible. Drive to save lives.”

The tragedies and costs from driving impaired are not limited to death, disfigurement, or injury. Drive drunk and also face the likely consequence of an arrest, loss of your license, or a night in jail. Stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day and make a plan before the celebration begins:

  • If you expect to ride home with someone else, designate a sober driver ahead of the party or save the number of a taxi company on your phone as a backup plan;
  • If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation or a cab;
  • If available, consider using your local community’s Sober Ride® program – if you live in Northern Virginia call 1-800-200-TAXI or visit for more information;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to dial #77 on a cell phone to reach the nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

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*DMV, Highway Safety Office