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Va. State Police advise “Party with a Plan” on St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, providing those who want to celebrate Ireland’s most famous Saint additional hours to take in festivities. 

While the opportunities to eat corned beef and drink green beer will be plentiful, Virginia State Police encourage Virginians to please designate a sober driver if you are going to be drinking over the holiday.

Drunk driving is not only deadly, it can also be costly. 

If caught drinking and driving, you can face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates and lost wages.  In 2023, the week of Saint Patrick’s Day, there were 124 crashes involving alcohol in Virginia, and six fatalities.  Sixty-six people were injured.*

“St. Patrick’s Day can be a fun time to have a pint but, remember, getting behind the wheel when intoxicated is no way to celebrate,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police. “Driving drunk is a choice - a choice with deadly consequences for you, your passengers and every other motorist sharing the road with you. Never drive drunk or under the influence of drugs.”

If you’re going to party, then party with a plan:
Ensure you have a designated sober driver, a plan to use public transportation or a ride share service BEFORE any drinking begins.
Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Be honest with yourself and know that even if you only plan on having one drink, you should plan on having a designated driver.
Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly. Being under the influence can cause a lack of attention to surroundings and put pedestrians at risk of being hit by a vehicle.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, pull over safely and dial #77 on a cell phone or call 911.
If you know someone who has been drinking and is about to drive, take the keys and make arrangements to get them home safely.
If you are driving, keep an eye out for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users on the roadways.

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during St. Patrick’s Day, as well as during the traditional Spring Break season, the Virginia State Police will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. The state-sponsored, national program incorporates a nine-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m., March 9, 2024, and concludes at midnight on March 17, 2024.

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