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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Media Contact: Bill Foy
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Don't Push Your Luck This St. Patrick's Day
Designate a Sober Driver Before the Party Begins

RICHMOND - St. Patrick's Day has become a dangerous time on Virginia roads due to impaired drivers. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cautions all motorists to make responsible choices this weekend. Don't drink and drive, and always choose a sober, designated driver ahead of time.

"Since St. Patrick's Day falls on Saturday this year, we are working hard to remind everyone to designate a sober driver before their parties begin," said DMV Commissioner D. B. Smit. "Too many people still don't understand that alcohol and driving just don't mix."

In 2006, during the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend, preliminary data indicates there were 126 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia, including 90 injuries and one fatality.

For a safer St. Patrick's Day, DMV offers these simple reminders:

  • Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
  • If you're impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
  • Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.
  • 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.

Impaired driving is no accident, nor is it a victimless crime. In 2005, nearly 13,000 people died nationwide in highway crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood-alcohol-content of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"Too many lives are being lost and we need everyone's help to stop it," said Smit. "Make smart decisions. Designate your sober driver in advance. Don't push your luck this St. Patrick's Day."

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