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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Designate a Sober Driver before the St. Patty's Celebration Begins
Don't Depend on the Luck of the Irish

RICHMOND - St. Patrick's Day is a popular night to celebrate with friends and family. However, the night out can be dangerous due to the threat of drunk drivers.

"Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a St. Patrick's Day party, if you plan on using alcohol, never drive while impaired-and never let your friends drive if you think they are impaired," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "We all need to take responsibility by designating a sober driver, hosting responsible parties and making sure that you take the keys when a friend has had too much to drink."

On St. Patrick's Day last year in Virginia, preliminary data indicates there were 25 alcohol-related crashes, 17 alcohol-related injuries and one fatality where alcohol was a factor. On St. Patrick's Day in 2009, there were 20 alcohol-related crashes and 16 alcohol-related injuries in the Commonwealth.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 327 people across the nation lost their lives in crashes that involved a drunk driver or motorcycle operator during the St. Patrick's Day holidays over the past five years.

"St. Patrick's Day is supposed to be a time to gather with friends and have fun, but it can quickly end in tragedy if someone drinks and gets behind the wheel," Holcomb said. "By designating a sober driver, Virginians can enjoy a safe and fun-filled St. Patrick's Day without putting their lives and the lives of others in harm's way. And whenever you are driving, remember to always buckle up; it's your best defense against impaired drivers."

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