FMPD urges safe plan for St. Pat’s celebrations

FORT MADISON – Green beer, leprechauns, and elusive pots of gold are all hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day, the long-awaited Irish holiday. Make sure you and your friends stay safe this St. Paddy’s Day by remembering one important piece of advice: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

This means that if you plan to drink any alcoholic beverage, even a watered-down green beer, it’s essential that you plan for a designated driver. In 2018 alone, 73 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period from 6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.

For this reason, Fort Madison Police Department is teaming up with the U. S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Because even one drink can be one too many.

“We want our community to enjoy St . Patrick’s Day, and we expect drivers to take responsibility for their actions,” “If you’ve been drinking, make the right choice to find a sober driver to get you, and your friends, home safely. Before you put your keys in the ignition, remind yourself: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you feel a buzz, you are in no shape to drive.”

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018, and 29% (10,511) of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In 2018 alone, 73 people (39% of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St . Patrick’s Day holiday period. The early hours of March 18, 2018, didn’t fare much better.

Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. over the St. Patrick’ s Day holiday period in 2018, more than three out of five (62%) crash fatalities involved a drunk driver. In fact, from 2014 to 2018, 249 lives were lost due in drunk-driving crashes. 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.

“Drunk drivers are often a problem on our nation’s roads, but we especially hate to see them out on holidays. People need to know that they can go out for a night of fun and return home safely. Don’t be the reason someone – including yourself – doesn’t get home. Don’t let St. Patrick’ s Day become an anniversary of a tragic night.”

Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem, for men and for women alike. If drivers are impaired by any substance – alcohol or other drugs – they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. It is illegal in all states to drive impaired by alcohol or drugs. Remember: Driving while impaired is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. It’s that simple.

Drinking and driving should never be combined. It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance if the holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of other drivers and passengers nearby.

This holiday season, Fort Madison Police Department and NHTSA urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.

Party with a Plan
First and foremost: Plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously – your friends are relying on you.

Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the Fort Madison Police Department.
Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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