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Posted March 17, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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State police: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but don't drink and drive


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The following press release was issued by the Virginia State Police:

RICHMOND - Heading out to celebrate your Irish heritage or St. Patrick's Day in-general this March 17? Then plan ahead and help save a life. The Virginia State Police remind all Virginians to celebrate responsibly this St. Patrick's Day by planning the trip home before the party even begins.

"If you plan on drinking, then don't rely on the luck of the Irish to keep you safe or to keep you out of trouble," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

"Drunk driving alone claimed more than 292 lives on Virginia's highways in 2008.* An impaired driver puts his/her own life at risk, along with every other motorist sharing that same road."

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that over the past five years, 851 people lost their lives in motor vehicles crashes during the St. Patrick's Day holiday. Out of that number, 327 were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

The tragedies and costs from driving impaired are not limited to death, disfigurement, disability or injury. Drive drunk and also face the likely consequence of an arrest, loss of your license, or a night in jail.

Making responsible choices starts with planning a safe way home before your celebration begins:

  • If you plan to get a ride home with someone else, designate a sober driver before any drinking begins;
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
  • Consider using your local community's Sober Rides program - in Northern Virginia call 1-800-200-TAXI;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to dial #77 on a cell phone to reach the nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride their motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Driving drug and alcohol free are among the five traffic safety initiatives highlighted in Virginia's Highway Safety Challenge. All Virginians are reminded to safeguard themselves while out on the road this St. Patrick's Day and every day by always buckling up, avoiding distractions, sharing the road, driving drug and alcohol free, and obeying speed lim

*Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

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