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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Don't Rely on Irish Luck During St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
Always Designate a Sober Driver

RICHMOND - Before you go to your local bar or any celebration this St. Patrick's Day, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles encourages you to be responsible by designating a sober driver before you consume alcohol.

Many see St. Patrick's Day as a trendy night out to have fun with friends and family. However, due to the possibility of drunk drivers, the night out can also be dangerous.

On St. Patrick's Day in 2009, 20 alcohol-related crashes occurred in Virginia involving 30 drivers. Sixty-seven percent of the 30 drivers were under the influence of alcohol. Fifteen, or 75 percent, of the 20 crashes happened between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m. The four Virginia jurisdictions with the most alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick's Day last year were Fairfax County, Richmond City, Montgomery County and Virginia Beach.

The calamities from drunk driving are not limited to death or injury. If you are convicted you will face jail time, loss of your driver's license, increased insurance rates and dozens of other expenses including attorney fees, fines, court costs and lost time at work.

"When you think of St. Patrick's Day, you think of four leaf clovers, wearing green and celebrating with friends and loved ones, but one bad decision can turn a celebration into a tragedy if you drink and decide to get behind the wheel," said John Saunders, Director of DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO). Here are some tips to remember this St. Patrick's Day:

  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home
  • If you're impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, pull over to a safe place and contact your local law enforcement immediately
  • If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take their keys and help them make other transportation arrangements

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