WHP: Don’t press your luck for St. Paddy’s Day

(Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City)

The Wyoming Highway Patrol is saying “Don’t rely on luck to get you home safely on St. Patrick’s Day.”

The WHP released a statement to media this week, warning Wyoming residents and visitors to designate a ride when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.

“Drunk-driving fatalities tend to spike on St. Patrick’s Day,” the WHP statement says. “Which is why the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol want to remind people to stay safe and have a sober driver.”

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“During the 2018 St. Patrick’s Holiday season, 108 vehicle crashes and three fatalities occurred. As of March 11, 2019, we have lost 29 drivers and occupants so far this year,” said Colonel Kebin Haller with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. “Many lives have been changed in an instant, often the result of poor choices. Please do your part by never driving impaired, putting away distractions, slowing down and always buckling up. Troopers will be doing their part identifying impaired and unsafe drivers who made the bad decision to put others in danger.”

Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration indicated that from 2013-2017 during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, about 234 people died due to drunk-driving crashes, nationwide.

In 2017, drunk-driving deaths were eight percentage points higher nationally on St. Patrick’s Day compared to other days, with 37 percent reported compared to 29 percent.

Driving drunk can also have financial impacts, the WHP warns. On average, driving under the influence offense can cost a person $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and repairs and more.

When celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day, WHP offers several tips to stay safe:

  • Always have a designated driver. Even if you decide to walk home, always have a sober person with you. In 2017, 32 percent of pedestrians killed in crashes had a blood-alcohol content of .08 and higher.
  • Calling for a taxi, ride service or another sober ride.
  • Taking the car keys away from someone who has been drinking.
  • Contacting law enforcement if you see a drunk driver on the road. People can either call 911 or 800-442-9090.