St. Patrick’s Day is infamous for its celebrations, and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police (VSP) want to remind party-goers to plan for a safe ride home.
The number of drunk drivers on the road March 17 makes St. Patrick’s Day one of America’s deadliest holidays, VSP Public Relations Coordinator Susan Rowland said in a release. Someone dies in an alcohol-related crash every 72 minutes during the holiday.
As part of the LCSO’s enforcement efforts to crackdown on drinking and driving this St. Patrick’s Day, a sobriety checkpoint will be held on March 17. Members of the Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary Unit and volunteers from the Loudoun Chapter of MADD will assist with the checkpoint. Virginia State Police will also be increasing patrols to deter and detect motorists who choose to drive under the influence.
“Be responsible or risk a DUI,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a prepared statement. “If you are going to celebrate this weekend with alcohol, designate a sober driver before your celebration begins.”
Between 2011 and 2015, 252 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, from 6 p.m. March 16, to 5:59 a.m. March 18, 25 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers, Rowland said.
“Buzzed or drunk driving puts everyone’s life at risk,” VSP Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said in a prepared statement. “Impaired driving claimed 241 lives on Virginia’s highways in 2015 and each of these deaths was 100% preventable. There is no excuse for it when today’s technology allows you to call for a ride at the press of a button. A rideshare will cost you a few dollars, but driving drunk could cost someone their life.”
According to personal finance website WalletHub, the average St. Patrick’s Day partier will spent $38. The average cost of a taxi in the U.S, which is one of many options for a safe ride this holiday, is just $11 to $18, Rowland said.
Chapman also said that the Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free Lyft rides from 4 p.m. March 17 to 4 a.m. the following day, as part of the DC area SoberRide program.