The Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT’s) “Heat Is On DUI” crackdown runs again on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Friday, March 16, through Monday, March 19. The CDOT says, “With St. Patrick’s Day on a Saturday this year, expect even tougher DUI enforcement.”
Last year, the Colorado State Patrol and statewide law enforcement agencies arrested 682 Colorado drivers for impaired driving during the St. Patrick’s Day DUI “Heat is On!” enforcement period. According to the Colorado DOT’s Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving, authorities arrest more drivers for DUI on St. Patrick’s Day than any other day of the year except for Halloween, reports the blog Sobering Up (part of Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc., a company based in Littleton, Colorado).
As a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) press release states:
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37 percent of the motor vehicle traffic fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day 2009 involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams per deciliter or above, the legal level of intoxication established in every state in the Union.
During St. Patrick’s Day 2009, there were 103 crash fatalities. Of that number, 39 people were killed in traffic crashes involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .08 g/dL 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. Even if you’ve only had a few drinks and are just feeling ‘buzzed,’ don’t kid yourself because Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,’ said Romell Cooks, Regional Administrator, NHTSA, Region 7.
Following are some NHTSA suggestions for staying safe on St. Patrick’s Day:
- Before the festivities begin, plan to get home safely by designating a sober driver.
- If you become impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or take public transportation.
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement.
- If people you know are about to drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.
The NHTSA gives this cautionary advice:
Driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired is not worth the risk. The consequences are serious and real. 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.
Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.
Please remember if you’ve had a couple of drinks and are feeling ‘buzzed,’ don’t drive. Remember our motto, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
Image by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, used under Fair Use: Reporting.