LOMBARD, Illinois-- 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. The Lombard Police Department will be conducting special enforcements during the time between March 14 and March 17 for seat belt compliance and DUI patrols.
On St. Patrick's Day, many of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2010, more than 10,000 people were killed nationally in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher.
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"Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a party, if you plan on using alcohol, never drive while impaired--and never let your friends drive if you think they are impaired," said Raymond Byrne, Lombard Police Chief. "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk," he added.
Additional NHTSA statistics show that in 2009, there were 103 crash fatalities on St. Patrick's Day. Out of that number, 47 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Byrne recommends the following easy steps, for a safe St. Patrick's Day:
Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and leave your car keys
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;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to call
And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
"Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk," said Byrne. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant. Don't depend on dumb luck this St. Patrick's Day. Designate your sober driver before the party begins," he added.
For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.