St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large number of drunk drivers, the nights out surrounding the St. Patrick’s celebration have also become very dangerous.
Between March 13-17, 2015 the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, along with many other law enforcement agencies across Iowa, will participate in the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP) in an attempt to make sure everyone is obeying Iowa’s traffic laws. This sTEP wave will encompass the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend and is one component in a statewide project to help change driver behavior and encourage motorists to buckle up, slow down, and drive sober.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, 40-percent of all crash fatalities during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk drivers, and that number rose to 55-percent in the post-party hours of midnight – 6:00 a.m., of March 18. Almost 75-percent of those fatalities involved drivers who were twice the legal limit. Over the last four years, nationwide, drunk driving kills on average 68 people each St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Don’t let your St. Patrick’s Day end in tragedy. Before you take your first sip of green beer, make a plan. If you become impaired and don’t have a designated driver, call a friend, relative, cab or use public transportation to get home safely. If you think a cab fare is expensive, consider the average $10,000 expense of getting an OWI, including higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, towing fees, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses.
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