CHP stresses safety on St. Patrick’s Day, DUI checkpoints planned

LANCASTER/PALMDALE – Everybody may be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but nobody should drive drunk after celebrating Ireland’s patron saint this Saturday, March 17, warns the California Highway Patrol.

The Avoid the 100 – Los Angeles County DUI Campaign will be deploying additional officers on overtime this weekend, supporting routine traffic and patrol officers and focusing on drinking driver hotspots.

The Saint Patrick’s Day enforcement period runs from 6:00 p.m., March 16 to 6:00 a.m. March 18.

Police, sheriff and CHP officers will have a “zero tolerance” response toward impaired drivers who fail to use a designated sober driver, according to a news released issued by the CHP.

“St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s days in the world, but all too often it shares that great distinction with a far lesser one – too many people are driving drunk and killing or maiming themselves and others on the road as a result,” said CHP Officer Gil Hernandez.  “Even if you think you’ve had only a few drinks and are just feeling ‘buzzed,’ don’t kid yourself because Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

Last year during the St. Patrick’s Day period, there were 3 people killed and 96 seriously injured in traffic crashes across California involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, according to statistics compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

“Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending a local event or party, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely, or contact your local sober ride program participant for a safe trip,” CHP Officer Gil Hernandez recommended.

Law enforcement officials recommend the following easy steps, for a safe St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin and designate a sober driver.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to report them – Call 911!
  • If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

The national Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving crackdown is led by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and NHTSA, with the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness through publicity.

The Program is funded through a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety who reminds everyone to please Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911!

(Information via news release from the California Highway Patrol.)