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Use Caution to Avoid St. Patrick’s Day Car Accidents

St. Patrick’s Day is a day when everyone gets to be Irish. Unfortunately, while drinking green beer can be a lot of fun for everyone, the good times end quickly when it comes to drunk driving.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know that St. Patrick’s day is a hard-partying day of the year when many people make the unfortunate choice to drive drunk. We urge you to follow the advice offered by NHTSA in its recent press release on celebrating responsibly over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.

The Dangers of Drunk Driving on St. Patrick’s Day
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a press release on Friday March 15 urging drivers to be responsible over St. Patrick’s and warning drivers of the risk that drunk driving presents on this holiday weekend.

According to NHTSA:

  • Someone died of a drunk driving accident every 53 minutes on average in 2011.
  • On St. Patrick’s Day, 34 percent of car accident deaths were connected to impaired/intoxicated driving. This is higher than the national average of drunk-driving related fatalities at 31 percent.

In collecting their data on St. Patrick’s day drunk driving fatalities, NHTSA defined the holiday as beginning at 6:00 a.m. on March 16 and extended to 5:59 a.m. on March 18.

Staying Safe on St. Patrick’s Day
In addition to warning drivers about the dangers of drunk driving on St. Patrick’s day, NHTSA also provided some tips for motorists on how to avoid becoming an accident victim. NHTSA recommends:

  • Deciding on a transportation plan before going out to celebrate. The plans should include a designated driver or some other ride home.
  • Calling a cab, family member or friend if you do not have a designated driver and if you have consumed too much alcohol.
  • Waiting until you have sobered up before you drive home if you cannot find someone to take you. NHTSA urges you to stay in the location where you are until you are under the legal limit and can drive safely.
  • Looking into and taking advantage of safe ride programs offered in your community.
  • Making sure your friends don’t drive drunk, and providing them with a safe ride home if necessary.
  • Never getting into a car with drunk drivers.
  • Buckling up every time you get into a car with anyone.

NHTSA also had some advice for people throwing St. Patrick’s day parties. NHTSA recommended making sure that food and non-alcohol beverage offerings are available. Hosts are encouraged to stop serving alcohol several hours before the party ends and to switch to coffee and desert instead. Those throwing parties should also be sure to take the keys away from anyone who is drunk, and to arrange alternate transportation if necessary such as by having the telephone number of a cab company available.

By taking these steps, you and your friends and family should have a better chance of staying safe over the holiday. Every driver needs to remember, however, that drunk drivers don’t just hurt themselves. Completely innocent victims could become involved in a crash with a drunk driver. As such, drivers should be extra vigilant this weekend for signs of erratic driving or other indicators that someone intoxicated is behind the wheel.

If you or someone in your family has been the injured or killed in a car accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Attention South Florida Drivers: Hands-Free Devices May Be No Safer
March 5, 2013

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