Local law enforcement agencies stepping up traffic enforcement during St. Patrick’s Day holiday, March 14-17

Those who are heading out to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration this year need to make sure they have more than just the luck o’ the Irish on their side. This holiday, dated as March 17 but often celebrated the weekend prior or after as well, is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year and this, unfortunately, means more impaired drivers on the roads.

Drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of vehicle related fatalities in the United States. Nationally, in 2018 alone, 73 people (39% of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period and 33% of the pedestrians aged 16 and older killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08. In 2019 in Iowa, there were two crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday which killed four people.

To combat the increased impaired driving around the holiday, local law agencies will be stepping up traffic enforcement March 14 – 17. Officers will especially be watching for drunk and drugged drivers and anyone not wearing seat belts.

Drinking and driving should never be combined.  It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance if the holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change a person’s life, not to mention the lives of passengers, pedestrians or other drivers and passengers nearby. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day responsibly!

The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau remind all those behind the wheel that driving while impaired is illegal. A good guideline to follow to remain as safe as possible when getting behind the wheel is “If you feel different, you drive different!”

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