AAA Mid-Atlantic Urges Motorists to Drive Responsibly

AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging those who celebrate the “Wearin’ of the Green” to avoid impaired driving. For St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, AAA says motorists shouldn’t push their luck by getting behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.

“March 17th falls on a Saturday night, making it a more tempting time to indulge in that green beer. But a fun celebration with friends can quickly end in tragedy if drunk driving is involved,” said Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AA Mid-Atlantic.

To help avoid the dangers of drinking and driving, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips:

If you’re venturing out to a pub, Irish or otherwise, plan ahead.
 If you plan to drive, don’t drink.
 If you plan to drink, pre-select your designated driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
 If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come get you.
 Never allow friends to drive while impaired.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37 percent of the motor vehicle traffic fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day 2009 involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content of .08.

Pennsylvania State Police made a record number of arrests –17,695 – for driving under the influence in 2010, an increase of nearly 5 percent over the 16,900 DUI arrests reported in 2009 and the ninth consecutive year in which the number of DUI arrests by state police increased.

Not only can a DUI cost your life or the life of someone else, it can cost your freedom and a “lot ‘o green” – money, that is. A first-time DUI conviction can result in a six-to 12-month jail sentence, more for repeat offenders and for impaired drivers who injure or kill someone in a crash. Monitoring bracelets, ignition interlock equipment, license revocation and probation also place restrictions on your life, while legal fees, bail and other related expenses can amount to more than $10,000.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

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