It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the green beer will be flowing tonight! If you’re planning to partake of the festivities tonight, be sure to plan for the safety of yourself and others first.
Here are some tips to ensure that you’re not relying on luck to have a safe, fun St. Patrick’s Day whether it’s at home or out on the town.
1) Have a designated driver. It goes without saying: Don’t ever drink and drive. Plan in advance for someone in your party to abstain from alcohol. Thank them by picking up their (non-alcoholic) tab and reimbursing them for their gas.
2) Have an alternate plan. If no designated driver is available, make other arrangements (before the evening starts, if possible) for a ride home. Options include calling a friend or family member, or renting a room at a hotel within walking distance. (Hotel Tonight is a great app for finding a discounted hotel nearby.) Many metro areas offer safe driving alternatives, so check to see if there are taxi companies or associations offering a program.
3) Drink water and eat food. Don’t drink on an empty stomach and keep your belly full.
4) Don’t leave your drink unattended. Also never accept a drink that has been opened for you.
5) Keep an eye on your friends. Make sure your friends stay within their limits, and never let anyone drive drunk. If you have to, take their keys and help them find an alternate way home or to a hotel.
6) If you’re the designated driver, drive carefully. Even though you haven’t been drinking, others on the road may well have. Drive extra defensively and make sure everyone in your car remains buckled up. Keep a keen eye out for pedestrians, who may not have all their wits about them after a night of partying.
Research shows that consuming just one drink or smoking one joint affects concentration, perception, coordination and reaction time.
The Risks Of Driving While Intoxicated
What can happen?
- If you buy alcohol or drugs, have them in your possession or are caught using them, you can face a fine and have your license suspended or revoked.
- If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or drive while intoxicated, you can be fined, sentenced to do community service, and have your license suspended or revoked.
- If you have a fake I.D., you can be fined.
- If you tamper with your driver’s license, you can be heavily fined and even face jail time.
In all states, repeated offenses carry escalating penalties. Repeat offenders:
- Could be placed in a detention facility
- Could be placed in a residential facility
- Could be placed in a weekend intervention program for referrals to treatment
Repeat offenders could be placed on probation which may include:
- Restricted use of a car
- Forbidden use of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Mandatory submission to searches
- Giving information about others
- No travel without permission
- Following a curfew
- Limited access to certain places and persons
- Providing blood or urine samples
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
Though the exact wording of administrative license suspension (ALS) laws varies by state, these laws generally permit police to confiscate the license of any driver who fails a chemical test for alcohol or refuses to take one. If the suspension is not appealed or if the appeal fails, the license is suspended for up to one year. Longer suspensions can be triggered for repeat violators.
Above all, stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day!