KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - March 10, 2011) - For many Americans, *St. Patrick's Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large number of drunk drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous.

On St. Patrick's Day 2009, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of the total 103 crash fatalities during that time period, 47 involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

"Whether you are meeting a few friends at a bar after work or attending a parade, if your celebration includes alcohol, designate a sober driver before the party begins. Never drive while impaired -- and never let your friends drive if you think they are impaired -- 'Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk,'" said Romell Cooks, Regional Administrator, NHTSA, Region 7.

Ms. Cooks offers these reminders to avoid heartache this St. Patrick's Day.

  • Plan a safe way home before the activities begin: Designate a sober driver, plan to use a taxi, public transportation or leave your car keys at home;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

"Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk," said Ms. Cooks. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant. Don't depend on dumb luck this St. Patrick's Day. Designate your sober driver before the party begins."

For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

Contact Information:

Ginny Vineyard