This St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will have deputies on patrol from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The California Highway Patrol officers from the CHP’s Newhall Area office will also be on the lookout for impaired drivers in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“If drinking is part of your plans, plan on designating a sober driver and find a safe way home,” LASD Sergeant Robert Hill said. “Don’t make poor choices and allow yourself to mix alcohol or drugs with driving.”
On St. Patrick’s Day 2019 in California, seven people were killed, and 116 others were injured in crashes caused by driving under the influence.
Not only does driving under the influence put yourself and others on the road at risk, but it also hurts financially; attorneys’ fees, fines, court costs, insurance rate hikes, and car repairs can reach $15,000 or more in California.
“It’s simple: don’t drink and drive,” Sergeant Hill said. “Stay at home or find a sober driver to take you home.”
California’s public health guidance advises people to limit mixing with other people they don’t live with as much as possible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Although many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be held virtually this year, it’s important to designate a sober driver or stay at home for the night.
If you ever see a suspected drunk driver on the road, call 911.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
California Highway Patrol Encourages St. Patrick’s Day Safety
“The CHP is committed to making California’s roadways safe for all who use them,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Remember to buckle up, slow down, don’t drive distracted, and never drive impaired. If you chose to celebrate, please do so responsibly by designating a sober driver or making other arrangements to get home safe.”
The CHP wants everyone to remember safe driving rules have not changed and that officers will be on the lookout for impaired driving.
The CHP also cautions drivers that alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence. Cannabis, prescription medications, and illegal drugs can all lead to impaired driving.
Throughout the country, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that in 2020, 327 fatal alcohol-related crashes occurred on St. Patrick’s Day. Drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of vehicle-related fatalities in the United States, NHTSA data shows.
In California, the CHP made 67 arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day last year. Data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows alcohol- or drug-related crashes resulted in injuries to 31 people.
“Think of your safety and that of others before deciding whether it is safe for you to drive,” Office of Traffic Safety Director Barbara Rooney said. “We urge all drivers to make getting home safely part of your celebratory plans.”
The public can help keep California roadways safe by calling 9-1-1 if they suspect an impaired driver. Callers should be prepared to give the vehicle’s description, location, license plate number, and direction of travel.