ST. PATRICK’S DAY 2015
FACT SHEET & TALKING POINTS
Choose Before You Booze
Are You Drinking or Driving This St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day Reality Check
• For too many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has ended in tragedy due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekends from 2009 to 2013, there were a total of 276 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes.
• In 2013, two out of five crash fatalities over St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk driving.
• In the post-party hours between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, 2013, a staggering 55 percent of crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
• The situation isn’t improving, either. On St. Patty’s Day in 2013, there were 31 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
Plan Ahead to Stay Alive
• Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people each year in our country, and every single one of those deaths was preventable.
• Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.
• If you’re planning on drinking, now is the time to arrange your ride home. When you head out, leave your keys at home or give them to your sober driver.
• If you’re planning on driving that night, commit to staying sober.
• Look up a local taxi company, and save their number in your phone. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.
• A sober driver will be your luckiest charm this St. Patrick’s Day.
There’s No Such Thing as “OK to Drive”
• If you wait until you’ve been drinking on St. Patrick’s Day to decide how you’ll get home, you’re not OK to drive.
• Even if you’ve only had a couple of drinks, you may be impaired and shouldn’t drive. Remember, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
• As a driver, you’re either sober or you’re not. Don’t tell yourself or others that you’re OK to drive after you’ve been drinking.
• In every state, it is illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol. Impairment begins before the .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit set by every state. The majority of drunk drivers are way over that limit. From 2009 to 2013, three out of four drunk-driving fatalities occurred with drivers who were more than double the legal limit.
• 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 available, use your community’s free ride program [insert your local sober ride specifics here].
Important Things to Remember
• Alcohol affects everyone differently. Varying factors such as beverage alcohol content, body weight, food consumption, and number of drinks per hour, can change your BAC at a different rate than someone else’s. The only way to know you can drive is to stay sober.
• Walking impaired is dangerous just like drunk driving. In 2013, 34 percent of the pedestrians involved in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher. Get a sober friend to walk home with you.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. You could save a life. A third of all crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers.
• If you know someone who is about to drive drunk or ride with someone who is impaired, help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. If a friend is drunk and wants to drive, take the keys away. Don’t worry about offending someone—they’ll thank you later.
Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving…and It Will Cost You
• Fast-forward to March 18th. What will you be doing?
A. Sleeping off a fun night? or
B. Sitting in jail, the hospital, or the morgue because you drove drunk?
• It’s a simple choice. Choosing to drive drunk can ruin or end your life or someone else’s.
• This St. Patrick’s Day, if you drink and drive, you are looking at jail time, the loss of your driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car or motorcycle towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.
• Think cab fare is too expensive? Worried about your car being towed or ticketed if you leave it somewhere overnight? Those are weak excuses, considering the average DUI costs about $10,000. Wouldn’t you rather pay for a taxi?
For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.