Traditionally boozy St. Patrick's Day dangerous for drinking & driving

This weekend, the nation will observe St. Patrick’s Day, an international holiday that is commonly associated with drinking at bars and pubs.

It’s important to remember while celebrating one of America’s biggest cultural holidays that alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. When you drink and drive, you’re compromising cognitive ability and responsiveness, which increases your risk for an accident.

Drunk-driving crashes

According to the latest traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 59 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18).

Nationwide, on St. Patrick’s Day, 38% of drivers killed in crashes had a blood alcohol limit higher than .08, and three-quarters of those were at least double that.

When we focus on post-party hours (from midnight to 6 a.m.) nearly 69% of crash fatalities involved an impaired driver.

Below is an infographic from Sobering Up, a blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, highlighting some of the startling statistics about St. Patrick’s Day drinking and driving:


Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime

Most people know that drinking and driving don’t mix — but many still do it. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017. Although these deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades, drunk-driving crashes still claim more than 10,000 lives per year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day.

Higher auto insurance rates

If you get caught drinking and driving, you will likely have legal, financial, personal and even career ramifications, including higher auto insurance rates. Consequences of drinking and driving include the following, according to State Farm:

  • Most states suspend your license for varying lengths of time — sometimes up to a year. Multiple convictions typically equal a revocation of a license.
  • Some states require mandatory jail time — even for a first offense — as well as fees and fines.
  • You may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car; if it detects alcohol, it will prevent you from operating the vehicle.
  • A single drunk driving conviction may lead to job loss or restrictions (i.e., operating company vehicles).
  • Higher insurance rates almost always accompany drunk driving convictions.
  • If you were involved in an accident as a result of drunk driving, your insurance may deny payment for injury treatment.
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