As Kentuckians prepare to celebrate one of the country’s most popular holidays, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is reminding motorists to plan for a designated driver before the St. Patrick’s Day party begins.
Local and state police will be conducting extra patrols Friday night in and around Marion and Crittenden County.
“If you know you are going to drink, plan a ride ahead of time,” said KOHS Executive Director Dr. Noelle Hunter. “Alcohol not only dangerously impairs your driving skills – it impairs your judgment. Don’t wait until you’ve been drinking to find a sober driver.”
Tragically, St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred last year during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday involved drunken drivers.
“With all the sober ride options available, there is never an excuse for driving after drinking,” said Hunter.
According to NHTSA, on average, one person is killed every 53 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in the United States. Last year, more than 16 percent of fatalities on Kentucky roadways were due to a drunken driver.
To prevent roadway tragedies from occurring, the KOHS recommends the following:
- Before the festivities begin, plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation or your local sober ride program.
§ Download the free “Drive Sober Kentucky” application for information on local taxi services and sober ride programs. Visit www.drivesoberky.com for more information.
- If you see a drunken driver, contact law enforcement. Safely pull off the road and utilize the one-touch dial feature through the “Drive Sober Kentucky” app. The call will be received at the nearest Kentucky State Police post. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.
- If you know people who are about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements.
“Please have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day,” said Hunter. “All we ask is that you celebrate responsibly.”