LOS ANGELES (3/17/12) – Okay, so you’re probably making plans to celebrate with friends and family this St. Patrick’s Day, as the celebrated lucky holiday falls on Saturday, March 17th!
Break out your green shirts, Shamrock buttons and get ready to sing “Danny Boy” while swaying in arms of your closest friends throughout the night! Sounds like a fun weekend for all.
But recently, the LA County Sheriff’s report and DUI statistics say that in the past three years, DUI related accidents have claimed over 50 lives and have injured 3,413 people; just in the city of Los Angeles.
Therefore, law enforcement officials are sure to be conducting “Avoid DUI” operations especially designated for the St. Patty’s Day festivities, to make sure you haven’t had too much green beer or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
To fend off any shenanigans, officers will be observing drivers who pass through checkpoints for any sign of alcohol and/or drug impairment. They will also check for proper licensing. Any drivers caught driving impaired can expect some jail time, suspension of their license, and their insurance to increase. They may also be given fines, fees and DUI classes. Be mindful these expenses that can end up costing you $10,000 or more. It’s just not worth it.
So what can you do to make sure you’re not dealt that hand? AAA has released the DUI Justice link as a comprehensive resource to help reduce driving under the influence. They have created a national listing of sober/safe ride programs.
These programs have arranged for drivers to take you home in your very own vehicle if you’ve had too much imbibing. In the Los Angeles County area, the program’s called, “My Private Driver,” and offers rides 24 hours a day. Their number is 972-463-7865.
Santa Clarita Valley is lucky to have its very own program designated, Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides.” They will offer people a free ride home between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday night. So you’re ‘in luck!’ You can contact them directly at 661-259-6330.
It’s important to remember that “buzz driving is drunk driving,” as explained by Lieutenant Ron Katona, Officer in Charge of the Traffic Coordination Section, Emergency Operations Division of the L.A.P.D.
To make sure you enjoy a safe and problem-free Saint Patrick’s Day, the L.A.P.D. recommends you take note of the following tips:
- Take the numbers with you to call a taxi, friend or family member, or use L.A. public transportation.
- Before the festivities begin, make plans to get home safely.
- Designate someone as your sober driver.
- Just leave your car keys at home.
- Be a caring friend. Take the car keys away from someone who is about to drive impaired and help them to get home safely.
- And call 911 if you see a possible drunk driver on the road. They could be a danger to yourself and others.
So, in our best Irish accent, here is an old Irish blessing to help get you through your St. Patrick’s Day… “May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.”