Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Monday, March 15, 2010 amurphy@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS
DRIVE DRUNK ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY

Don't Depend on Dumb Luck -- Designate a Sober Driver Before the Party Begins

Des Moines, IOWA --- For many Americans, 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.

“Whether you’re meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a St. Patrick’s Day event, if you plan on drinking alcohol, never drive while impaired—and never let your friends drive if you think they’re impaired.  ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk’,” said Colonel Patrick Hoye of the Iowa State Patrol.

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics show in 2008, there were 134 crash fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day.  Out of that number, 50 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.  In Iowa during 2009, there were 373 fatalities, of which 86 were alcohol related.  In an effort to avoid more loss of life due to drunken driving, Iowa law enforcement agencies will step up enforcement over the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday as part of this year’s special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP), March 17-20, 2010.  During last year’s sTEP effort, March 12–17, there were 5 traffic fatalities that were investigated with 2 being alcohol related.

Colonel Pat Hoye with the Iowa State Patrol recommends the following easy steps, for a safe St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
  • Before drinking,  please designate a sober driver and leave your car  keys at home;
  • 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;
  • Use your community’s Sober Rides program if one is available;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

“Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk,” said Colonel Hoye.  “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant.  Don’t press your luck this St. Patrick’s Day.  Designate your sober driver before the party begins.”

For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org or contact:

Courtney Greene, Bureau Chief
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Public Information Bureau
215 East 7th Street, 3rd floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0248
Phone: (515) 725-6196
E-mail: dpsinfo@dps.state.ia.us
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