RALEIGH St. Patrick's Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, and good luck. But not even the luck of the Irish can protect you from the risks of driving after drinking.The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor's Highway Safety Program encourage those celebrating St. Patrick's Day to ensure they have the best good luck charm of all -a sober designated driver.
Beginning today, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina are stepping up their efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads. Officers will be on patrol day and night to catch drivers who make the decision to get behind the wheel after consuming too many Irish-themed spirits.The St. Patrick's Day "Booze It & Lose It" campaign will run throughout the weekend and end on Tuesday, March 17.
"Don't rely on luck to save you from a drunk driving crash," said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Choose before you booze. Having a plan in advance and a sober designated driver is the only way to avoid the life-changing consequences of drunk driving."
In 2014, there were 340 alcohol-related deaths in North Carolina.Each of these deaths was 100 percent preventable.
To save lives this St. Patrick's Day and throughout the year, NCDOT and GHSP offer a party-planning checklist to stay safe and save lives:
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.
Drunk driving has fatal consequences. If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police immediately. You could save a life.