• Patrick Thomas Santos, Esq.

CHP Urges Drivers Not to Count on Luck on St. Patrick's Day

Special attention from law enforcement

For many Californians, March 17 calls for a party. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds everyone who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day that no one is immune from the consequences of drunk driving.

Last year on St. Patrick’s Day, the CHP made more than 120 arrests statewide for driving under the influence (DUI). This is a decrease from the 489 arrests in 2014 and 430 arrests in 2013.

"Any decline in drunk driving arrests is certainly good news, especially if it truly indicates an increase in responsible behavior," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "However, one year does not necessarily show a trend, and the CHP will continue to remind people of the dangers of drunk and impaired driving."

More than 1,000 people have died in alcohol-related collisions in California every year since at least 2000, data collected through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System of the CHP shows. Approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States involved drunk drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

Because of the associated festivities, St. Patrick’s Day often attracts special attention from law enforcement and traffic safety agencies. "Don’t test your luck this St. Patrick’s Day," said Rhonda Craft, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "Be sure to use a designated driver this St. Patrick’s Day, or the party will be over before you know it."

Commissioner Farrow and Director Craft remind people of the costs of DUI, beyond the risk of injury or death to yourself and others: car repairs, hospital bills, legal fees, bail, higher insurance rates, fines, court costs, and lost time at work, to name a few. Ways to avoid impaired driving:

• Designate a sober driver before you go out to drink. • If you become impaired and do not have a designated driver, call a cab, a ride-sharing service, a friend or family member, or take a bus. • If you see a friend who is too drunk to drive, take their keys and call them a cab or ride share. • Find out ahead of time if your community has a safe rides program, and use it. • If you see a driver who appears to be driving impaired, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.


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