St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year, which means many individuals will be hitting the local bars and having some green beer, Guinness, or Jameson. Coincidentally, this Irish holiday is synonymous with drunk driving accidents and fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one-third of car accident fatalities involve drunk drivers on St. Paddy's Day. There have been 242 drunk driving deaths on St. Patrick's Day between 2011 and 2015. From those fatalities, 75 percent of them involve motorists who were two times over the legal drinking limit.
Due to the frightening statistics associated with St. Patrick's Day, law enforcement will be in full force, patrolling the streets and setting up sobriety checkpoints in order to deter drunk driving. If you plan on drinking on the day of, it is wise to do whatever it takes to avoid getting a DUI—or even be a victim of a drunk driving accident.
The following are helpful tips to avoid a DUI this St. Paddy's Day:
- Have a designated driver – While it may not be the most fun, someone has to do it. Ensure that one of the members of your group is the “designated driver.” Not only are they in charge of making sure everyone gets back home safe, but also keeping track of your alcohol intake to ensure that you are not overdoing it.
- Rely on public transportation – If the “sober one” of the group breaks his/her promise and celebrates like everyone else, a cost-effective way to get home would be to either take the bus or the train.
- Use your smartphone to request a ride – Thankfully, modern technology enables us to do a wide variety of things in the palm of our hands—including ordering a ride. When you request a ride through Uber or Lyft, you have the option of carpooling with others or getting your own ride with friends.
- Walk – If worse comes to worst, you can simply just walk home—granted the bar or pub is close enough to your home. While you can't get arrested for drunk driving, you can't get arrested for drunk walking. Just make sure you don't walk in the middle of the street or urinate in a dark alley.
- Hide your keys – If you know that there is a good chance that you will drive, whether you are drunk or not, give your keys to a trusted friend that will make sure you are home safe before giving them back.
- Consume food – Do not drink on an empty stomach since it will increase the likelihood of impairment. Ensure that you eat a meal while you are drinking and be careful not to drink too much. Additionally, hydrate yourself periodically with water or a non-alcoholic beverage.
- Check your vehicle – If you happen to be the designated driver, conduct a thorough vehicle check before going out. Police officers and more likely to be attracted to your car if there is some type of fault with it. Ensure your lights are in working order, including your signal lights.
- Obey every traffic law – Failing to signal when switching lanes or making a turn or even speeding can provide police officers with reasonable suspicion to pull you over. Then as soon as the officer smells alcohol in your vehicle, you will be wearing handcuffs before you know it.
- Check the local news websites for sobriety checkpoints – Sobriety checkpoints must be announced before they are set up. You can look up the checkpoint's location online, in the local newspaper, or just call the police department and simply ask.
- Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home – The best way to avoid a DUI altogether is by not going out. Host the festivities at your place this year or stay in with family. If you decide to throw a party at your place, make sure you have plenty of room for people to sleep if your guests are too intoxicated to drive.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Southern California, request a free consultation with our Ventura criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert today.