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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Friday, March 7, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Drink Responsibly on St. Patrick's Day
Designate a Driver Before the Party Begins

RICHMOND - For many Virginians, St. Patrick's Day is a popular night to celebrate with friends and family. Due to the large volume of impaired drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous.

In 2007, 49 alcohol-related crashes occurred in Virginia on St. Patrick's Day involving 77 drivers. Sixty-two percent of the 77 drivers were drinking. Thirty-two, or 65 percent, of the 49 crashes happened between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The three Virginia jurisdictions with the most alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick's Day last year were Fairfax County, Hampton and Portsmouth.

That's why the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia State Police want to remind all those who plan on celebrating during St. Patrick's Day to drink responsibly. The three state agencies joined forces under a statewide public awareness campaign called the Virginia Highway Safety Challenge, The challenge recommends these five calls to action to avoid being Virginia's next traffic fatality.

Highway Safety Challenge logo
  • Drive drug and alcohol free
  • Buckle up
  • Avoid distractions
  • Obey speed limits
  • Share the road

A driver can enjoy a safe St. Patrick's Day without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road. Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. If you're impaired, 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. 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.

"Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is simply not worth the risk," said DMV Commissioner D.B. Smit. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or a drunk driving arrest can be really significant."

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