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The original item was published from 3/17/2010 6:16:00 PM to 3/17/2010 6:18:10 PM.

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Posted on: March 17, 2010

[ARCHIVED] Don’t Rely on the Luck of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day

Before You Celebrate – Designate! The Bismarck Police Department announces their joint efforts with federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials across the nation to remind all those who plan to celebrate during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities to drink responsibly. Extra officers will be working St. Patrick’s Day through this weekend.

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.

Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a St. Patrick’s Day party, if you plan on using alcohol, never drive while impaired—and never let your friends drive if you think they are impaired.

Impaired driving affects thousands of Americans every year. In 2008 on St. Patrick’s Day, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes across the nation had an alcohol concentration level above the legal limit, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2009, there were 140 fatalities on North Dakota roadways and 55 of these fatalities were alcohol-related. In an effort to continue decreasing alcohol-related crashes, law enforcement agencies across North Dakota are determined to get drunk drivers off the roads by educating everyone on the dangers of drinking and driving.

“We want to get the message across that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. If you plan on drinking, even one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver to take you home. It is not worth it to drink and drive, as a DUI could cost you up to $10,000 and someone’s life,” said Sergeant Mark Buschena.

Alcohol-related deaths are 100 percent preventable. In addition, wearing a seat belt will save a person’s life and decrease the severity of injury the vast majority of the time. Make smart decisions. Remember to buckle up – every trip, every time and choose not to drink and drive.
So before you enter a crowded pub to drink green beer or Irish coffee, designate a sober driver and guarantee yourself and your friends a safe evening. Don’t rely on the Luck of the Irish. Remember, before you celebrate—designate!

Sgt. Buschena recommends these simple tips for a safe St. Patrick’s Day:

Always have a plan

  • Designate a sober driver or call a cab
  • Take the keys from someone who has been drinking
  • If you’re impaired, and haven't designated a sober driver, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get home safely
  • If you are hosting a party, be responsible and provide safe rides home for those who have been drinking and provide non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.

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