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DMV News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Designate a Sober Driver Before St. Patrick's Day Party
Plan Ahead for Safe Irish Celebration in 2012

RICHMOND - Since St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday this year, the weekend night could bring out more party-goers than usual celebrating the lucky holiday. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles encourages St. Patrick's Day revelers to decide who in their group will be the designated driver well before the party starts. Also, DMV reminds motorists to always buckle up, it's their best defense against drunk drivers.

"St. Patrick's Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world and as a result, some drivers out there may not be sober," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Keep in mind, even if a driver's blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit, which is 0.08 percent in Virginia, their ability to drive a car safely is still impaired. A designated driver must be a sober driver, one who decides not to drink alcohol at all."

On St. Patrick's Day last year in Virginia, there were 28 crashes, 15 injuries and one fatality that were alcohol-related. On Patrick's Day in 2010, there were 25 alcohol-related crashes, 17 alcohol-related injuries and one alcohol-related fatality in Virginia. In 2009, there were 20 crashes and 16 injuries in the Commonwealth that were alcohol-related on that day.

DMV recommends the following tips for a safe St. Patrick's Day celebration:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin
  • Designate a sober driver
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road - keep your distance, pull over in a safe place and dial #77 if you are driving in Virginia to report it to law enforcement
  • If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely

"Being in jail, or worse, being injured and in the hospital, is not the way you want to spend St. Patrick's Day," Holcomb said. "When you drive impaired, not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest can be significant."

The tragedies from drunk driving are not limited to death, disfigurement, disability or injury. Convicted drunk drivers face jail time, loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other expenses including attorney fees, fines, court costs and lost time at work.

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