Police, AAA caution drivers ahead of St. Patrick's Day

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - State Police and AAA are teaming together to ramp up enforcement efforts against drunk driving ahead of St. Patrick's Day.

Officials say they are concerned that St. Patrick's Day is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous holidays on the roads, behind more traditional holidays like New Year's and Memorial Day.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration numbers show that more than 325 people died over the last five years in alcohol-related car accidents across the country on St. Patrick's Day. Those types of crashes account for more than 38 percent of the total traffic fatalities during the holiday.

In Virginia there were close to 50 crashes involving alcohol on St. Patrick's Day in 2008.

"What we've learned is while during that time more people take to the road and there's more opportunity for death and destruction," said Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty. "Over the past few years, St. Patrick's Day has really become a deadly holiday, so we've had to react and put out more resources at that time."

Together with AAA, State Police are urging those heading out tomorrow to think before they drink.

"There's no depending on luck when you get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking," said AAA spokesperson Martha Meade, "not dumb luck, not the luck of the Irish, not your lucky shamrock will keep you safe if you get behind the wheel drunk."

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