Drunk driving doesn’t take a holiday in Georgia so if you’re impaired and behind the wheel on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll need more than the luck of the Irish to stay out of jail.
But the day in America when we celebrate all things Irish, whether our ancestors came from the Emerald Isle or not, has become one of the most notorious drinking holidays in the country. And in Georgia, revelers have unfortunately followed that tradition.
“St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s days in the world, but all too often, it shares that distinction with a far less impressive one. Too many people are driving drunk and killing themselves or others on the road as a result,” said Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Impaired driving is an entirely preventable crime so it’s sad that this trend continues every year.”
Sad indeed. In 2009, there were 103 crash deaths on St. Patrick’s Day, which is categorized as from 6PM on March 16 to 5:59AM on March 18. Of those crashes, more than a third involved alcohol-impaired drivers. 39 people were killed because drunk drivers decided the law didn’t apply to them.
“We want people to celebrate, but whether you’re heading to your local Irish pub or to a big parade, you need to make sure you have a sober driver,” said GOHS Director Blackwood. “Drunk driving not only kills innocent lives, but the financial repercussions will have you wishing you found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
The consequences of drunk driving are real. Drunk drivers in Georgia will automatically go to jail. No excuses and no warnings. Other consequences can include loss of a driver’s license, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees and court costs to car repairs and lost wages due to time off from work.
And drivers in Georgia really have no excuse for driving drunk because they have the Drive Sober Georgia smartphone application at their fingertips. Available on both the Android and iPhone markets, this app provides a listing of free sober ride programs across the state so no matter where you are, you can see if such a program exists in your area. It can be downloaded directly from your phone’s marketplace or by visitingwww.drivesobergeorgia.com.
Downloading the Drive Sober Georgia app is one way you can prepare yourself for getting home safe on St. Patrick’s Day. Here are a few more tips:
So remember that even if you’re just “buzzed,” don’t drive. Because in Georgia, if you don’t Drive Sober, you will Get Pulled Over. For more information on how to keep St. Patrick’s Day a safe and sober holiday as well as the consequences of a DUI, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.