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For a Safe St. Patricks' Day: Drive Sober
Shelley Snow
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 881-5362
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
OSP Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Don't depend on dumb luck - designate a sober driver this St. Patty's Day
For many Americans, St. Patrick's Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large volume of drunk drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous. Across the country in 2009, there were 103 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick's Day alone, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association. None of them were in Oregon, but in the past four years, Oregon has totaled 14 crashes on St. Patrick's Day that involved alcohol, with 13 injuries as a result.
"The consequences of driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired are serious and real," said Linda Fisher-Lewis, Impaired Driving Program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. "You not only risk killing or injuring yourself or someone else, you could face the trauma from the financial costs of a crash or an arrest - and that can be significant."
ODOT, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Department of Human Services' Addictions and Mental Health Division recommend the following precautions to help everyone enjoy a safe St. Patrick's Day:
  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin, even if you aren't planning to drink alcoholic beverages.
  • If you know you will be drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you decide to drink once you're out, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1 or 1-800-24-DRUNK.
  • If you are hosting a party, serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • 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.
For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.