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St. Pat’s drunken driving stats high

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

cars-blog-st-patricks-driving-NHTSAWhile St. Patrick's Day may not be thought of as a major holiday, it is one of a handful of days where cases of drunken driving are exceptionally high.

According to analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, about 40 percent of all deaths in car crashes between 2006 and 2010 (the latest data available) involved a drunken driver during the St. Patrick's Day holiday, which is defined as 6 a.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18.

If you are planning on celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a green beer or other alcoholic beverage, NHTSA encourages you to plan ahead to designate a sober driver or an alternate way home. In the event you find yourself without a ride, call a cab, the sober ride program in your community or someone you know is sober to get a ride home. It's much better to get home safely than to be faced with a drunken driving charge or have a car crash.

NHTSA also warns nondrinkers to be watchful on St. Patrick's Day for buzzed or drunken drivers. Be alert while out for both cars and pedestrians and report any suspicious behavior to the police. If you are driving or riding in a car, be sure to wear your seat belt, which is your best defense to protect you in a drunken driving crash. If you are hosting a party, NHTSA reminds that you can be held liable if someone at the party ends up in a drunken driving crash and to have numbers for sober rides handy.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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