Don’t rely on luck this St. Patrick’s Day

Staff reports

Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day will be a time of celebration for many. But with some spending hours consuming alcohol, there is a danger for the holiday to turn deadly.

While AAA East Central and the Ohio Department of Transportation want everyone to have fun, it is important to do so with safety in mind. Planning ahead to avoid operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) can keep you and others around you safe.

“Not only can OVI result in devastating crashes, but a conviction can weigh heavily on your pocketbook,” says Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central director of legislative affairs. “Alcohol and driving should never mix, and simple steps taken before a celebration can go a long way towards keeping you and everyone around you safe.”

So far this year, there have been 1,522 alcohol-related crashes resulting in 26 deaths in Ohio.

“Every alcohol-related crash is preventable. A good decision before heading out to celebrate can keep you from making a bad decision at the end of the night. Designate a sober driver, use a taxi, ride-share or public transit to get home,” says ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

ODOT will use more than 130 digital freeway message boards to display the message: “DON’T PRESS YOUR LUCK. DRIVE DRUNK. PAY A POT OF GOLD.”

Tips for avoiding OVI

Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night. Some options include:

Designate a driver

Take a cab, or a ride share Utilize local public transit Rent a hotel room or stay overnight where you are

If hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers. If possible, provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking.

Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you suspect a driver is under the influence, stay as far behind their vehicle as possible and as soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 911.

Since you can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, the best protection is to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle.

Staff reports