Don't bet your luck on it: Impaired driving is deadly driving

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The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association is reminding drivers that municipal law enforcement agencies and the Pennsylvania State Police will be out looking for impaired drivers during the St. Patrick's Day festivities that commonly take place during this Irish holiday across the Commonwealth.

Tragically, March 17 has become a dangerous holiday on our nation's roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2016 St. Patrick's Day holiday period, almost two-fifths (39 percent) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The early hours of March 18 didn't fare much better. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly three-fourths (69 percent) of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. In fact, from 2012 to 2016, almost two-fifths (38 percent) of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations well above the .08 limit, with 269 drunk-driving fatalities total.

Many towns and cities in Pennsylvania also host St. Patrick's Day parade's. Typically, during the celebrations alcoholic beverages are a staple and free flowing green beer found in every bar or pub. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. Law enforcement can arrest, for their safety, a visibly intoxicated pedestrian as well.

The PA DUI Association reminds all drivers that law enforcement look for signs of a driver operating a motor vehicle impaired. They want to remove that driver from the roadway before they cause harm to themselves or others sharing the roadway with them. Whether it's an alcoholic beverage, over the counter cold or allergy medicine, a prescription drug legally obtained from a doctor or other illegal drugs doesn't really matter initially to law enforcement — it's about saving lives. The issue is if the driver is operating the motor vehicle safely and is not impaired. The Pennsylvania DUI Association conducts training for law enforcement to determine under the influence factors while observing drivers using national standards for sobriety field tests, advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement techniques and the comprehensive international association of chiefs of police drug recognition program.

Responsible adults should make their arrangements prior to consuming alcoholic beverages, attending a parade or neighborhood party and with all the options available for safe rides everyone can enjoy the Irish St. Patty traditions and remain safe to enjoy the next holiday.
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