Jackson, MS — St. Patrick's Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold and good luck. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) recognizes that St. Patrick’s Day parades are always popular events that offer fun and entertainment to Mississippians of all ages, but no amount of luck can save you from a drunk-driving crash. Unfortunately, March 17th has become a deadly day in the United States, with a dramatic spike in drunk-driving fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2013 (6 p.m., March 16 to 5:59 a.m., March 18), more than a third (40%) of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The night of March 17—St. Patrick’s Day—was especially bad. In the post-celebration hours between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, half of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
Drunk driving is a crime—a crime that can rob families of loved ones and turn a day of celebration into one of mourning.
Speak out; designate a sober driver and share-- with family, friends and neighbors--the important safety message that drunk driving kills.
At MDOT, we take drunk driving very seriously, and we need your help to make sure that your friends and loved ones do, too.
Let’s make 2015 different. Use this party-planning checklist to stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day.
- NOW: Even if you don’t have plans yet, plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. Save the number of a taxi company in your phone so you always have a backup plan.
- WHEN YOU MAKE PLANS: A sober driver is an essential part of any party plan. Once you know where you’ll celebrate, decide whether you’re drinking or driving. You can only choose one.
- ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. If you’re the designated driver, don’t drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and brag about your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver. Only drive sober or ride with a sober driver.
- EVERY DAY: If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Safe driving is about personal responsibility. So, whether you’re planning an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebratory weekend with the Jackson parade on Saturday, March 21 or just an outing with friends and family on Tuesday, plan ahead for a sober ride home.
Drunk driving has fatal consequences. If you see a drunk driver on the road contact local law enforcement immediately. You could save a life.
For more information about MDOT, visit www.GoMDOT.com; follow, like and subscribe to MississippiDOT on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For the latest travel information, call 511 or visit www.MDOTtraffic.com. For after-hours media inquiries, call 601-359-9777 or visit http://mdot.ms.gov/portal/public_affairs.aspx.