Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over ramped up for St. Patrick’s Day

FLINT TWP. — Wear your green and enjoy your green beer but don’t drink and drive. Police are ramping up patrols in readiness for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration period, said Police Chief George Sippert in a report to the township board.

Focused on drunk driving, officers will patrol from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. from March 16 through 29, funded by a state Traffic Safety Grant, impacting eight communities in Genesee County, Chief Sippert said.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is spearheaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Tragically, March 17 has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays, according to a NHTSA press release. As one of the country’s most popular holidays, St. Patrick’s Day has long celebrated the roots of 34.2 million Americans with Irish ancestry. In 2014 there were 18 people killed in the U.S. in drunk-driving crashes on St. Paddy’s Day. This year, if you’ll be drinking alcohol, local law enforcement officials have some advice for you: Don’t drink and drive. Police will be cracking down on drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 6 p.m., March 16, to 5:59 a.m., March 18, more than a quarter (28%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The early hours of March 18 were even worse: between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly half of all crash fatal- ities involved drunk drivers. In fact, from 2010 to 2014, almost three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had BACs well above the .08 legal limit, with 266 drunk-driving fatalities total.

And keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink; walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention and coordination puts drunk pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

“We want to encourage everyone to make a plan before heading out to the festivities. Drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal. If you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested,” said NTSA officials.

“Designate a sober driver before you and your friends celebrate. Do not wait until you’ve already been drinking to find a sober driver, and never try to drive when you’re drunk.” Make 2017 safe. Use this party-planning checklist to stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day.

. PARTY PREPARATION: Designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely.

. 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. Ensure your designated driver has committed to a sober evening.

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