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Police warn revelers about dangers of drunken driving

Published March 16. 2019 06:44AM

Area police are working to spread the message about the dangers of drunken driving.

If you’re heading out for the Irish festivities, plan ahead and remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

March 17 has become a dangerous holiday on our nation’s roads.

According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than one-third (37 percent) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunken drivers. In 2017, 59 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period.

The early hours of March 18, 2017, were the most dangerous. Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., three-fourths (75 percent) of all crash fatalities involved drunken drivers.

In fact, from 2013 to 2017, over one-third (35 percent) of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations well above the 0.08 limit, with 234 drunk-driving fatalities total. Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

“St. Patrick’s Day should be a fun holiday for our community members, but we expect everyone to take responsibility for their actions,” said officer Joel Gulla of the Lehighton Police Department & Carbon County Coordinator for the North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program.

“Whether you’re driving yourself or your friends, make sure you stay sober or plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s not just about you. There are other people on the roads who want to get where they are going safely. Don’t let alcohol cause you to be a risk to yourself and others on the road.”

The North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program has announced sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols will be conducted through Monday on routes 209, 248, 443, 903, and 54.

The North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program reminds travelers if they suspect a Drunken Driver to dial 911. To report underage drinking call 888-UNDER21.

The Sobriety Checkpoints are part of the North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program. Sobriety Checkpoints and the Underage Drinking Enforcement Program are funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and NHTSA.

If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.

Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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