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Designate a Driver for your Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations

By David Friedman, Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the rich history and culture of the Irish. Regrettably, it is also a day when many make the dangerous choice of driving after they’ve been drinking.

From 2008 to 2012, drunk driving claimed 268 lives on St. Patrick’s Day alone—an average of 54 deaths on each St. Patrick’s Day in the past five years.

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Drunk driving is a crime—a crime that can rob families of loved ones and turn a day of celebration into one of mourning.

Safe driving is about personal responsibility. So, whether you’re planning an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebratory weekend, or just an outing with friends and family on Monday, plan ahead for a sober ride home.

Speak out, designate a sober driver, and share— with family, friends, and neighbors—the important safety message that drunk driving kills.

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At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we take drunk driving seriously, and we need your help to make sure that your friends and loved ones do, too.

Please help us leverage the power of social media to warn of the dangers of drunk driving. On Wednesday, March 12, at 3 p.m. ET, we’ll be on Twitter — @NHTSA – sharing stats, tips, and ways to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day without drinking and driving.

To have the most impact in this fight to save lives, we need YOU to join us. Here’s how:

  • Follow @NHTSA on Twitter.
    When you see this hashtag—#buzzeddriving—retweet it to remind your followers that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

And, if you want to do more to fight drunk driving right now, here are a few ideas for tweets to share to get more people involved on March 12 to spread the word and save lives:

  • Don’t rely on luck to get you home safe this #StPatricksDay. Join @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET to talk about #buzzeddriving.

  • Get tips on how to stay safe this #StPatricksDay from @NHTSAgov. We’re joining their Twitter chat 3/12 @ 3pmET. #buzzeddriving

  • 91 people died from drunk drivers on #StPatricksDay in 2012. Save a life: join us and @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET. #buzzeddriving

  • Think a 4 leaf clover will get you home safe on #StPatricksDay? Join us & @NHTSAgov 3/12 @ 3pmET to find real safe ways home. #buzzeddriving

  • No matter how much green you wear, it won’t save you if you’re driving drunk. Follow #buzzeddriving & @NHTSAgov on 3/12 @ 3pmET.

The loss of life on St. Patrick’s Day—a day that should be about joy and celebration—is tragic. It’s also preventable, and it’s up to us to spread the word.

Help us let everyone know: it’s great to don the green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t even think about driving after you’ve been drinking.

I’m British & have a UK driving license, is it just the International Driving License I’d need to drive in the US while on holiday?

Asked by James on Twitter.

You’ll need an IDP (International Driving Permit) and should check with the state where you plan to drive. This page on Foreign Visitors Driving in the U.S. should help.

Image description: When the weather is bad, you should try to stay off the roads. But if you must drive in winter weather conditions, make sure you have emergency supplies in your car.
Use these tips from Ready.gov to make an emergency kit for you car.

Image description: When the weather is bad, you should try to stay off the roads. But if you must drive in winter weather conditions, make sure you have emergency supplies in your car.

Use these tips from Ready.gov to make an emergency kit for you car.

Can You Be Ticketed for Distracted Driving?

In most states, you can be pulled over and ticketed for texting while driving. Some states also ban handheld cell phone use. Look up the laws in your state and wherever you plan to drive.

Texting while driving is extremely hazardous because it involves visual, manual, and cognitive attention, but any activity that distracts a driver can lead to a serious accident. 

Other common distractions include eating, grooming, reading directions, and adjusting the radio.These activities may seem harmless, but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are killed or injured every year as a result of distracted driving.

Visit Distraction.gov for more information.

I Know Everything

Video description

Distracted driving kills teenagers every year. Make sure you know how to be safe in the car this summer.

Video transcript

Female v/o: I know everything about everything. I know what my friends are doing all the time. Seriously, I know almost everything because I pay attention, well…most of the time.

I know about cars and driving and what it takes to drive safely.

Male v/o: Right, but it doesn’t hurt to review what you already know.

Female v/o: I know what I need before I get into the car.

My keys.

My phone.

My wallet or bag.

I know to adjust my seat and check my mirrors and put on my seat belt and lock the doors before I take off.

Male v/o: Did you know 10% of high school students report rarely or never wearing seat belts when riding with someone else?

Female v/o: I know I’ve always got to be careful and drive safely.

Mom and Dad and everybody tell me to pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. Huh…maybe they’re right?

I know my parents can take away my keys anytime…UGH!

I know I need to obey traffic lights and street signs.

And going faster than the speed limit is dangerous and illegal.

I know I could get a ticket or lose my license if I break the rules. That’s not cool.

Male v/o: Did you know teen drivers are 50% more likely to crash in the first month of having a license than they are after a full year of experience?

Female v/o: I know the difference between fog lights and high beams.

I know to drive slower in rain or snow or ice or fog

I know I need to be awake and alert.

I know I need to pay attention to road conditions all the time because a car can slide out of control in one second. That’s scary.

I know to keep the radio down and not sing too loud so I can hear a siren or a horn.

Male v/o: Did you know 57% of teen crashes involve going too fast, not paying attention, or failing to yield?

Female v/o: I know I shouldn’t change the a/c or look up directions when the car is moving.

I know those all distract me from the only thing I should be doing —-Driving.

I know not to text and drive or make calls when I’m in the car.

Male v/o: Did you know that more than 50% of high school students say they text while they drive at least sometimes?

Female v/o: I know it’s really hard and a little gross to eat when I’m driving.

I know I need to pay 100% of my attention to signs and lights and other cars every single second.

Male v/o: Did you know 20% of crashes that injure someone are caused by a distracted driver?

Female v/o: I know it’s illegal for me to drink alcohol.

And I know that when I’m 21 it’s illegal to drink alcohol and drive impaired. It’s dangerous, illegal and just plain stupid.

I know I need to be careful driving if I take medicine. And I definitely shouldn’t let a friend who’s impaired get behind the wheel.

Male v/o: Did you know 60% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes who have been drinking were not wearing a seat belt?

Female v/o: I know I could get arrested and lose my license if I drive impaired. And I know I could get grounded…Forever.

I know I need to be home by curfew. But I still need to drive safely and obey stop signs and red lights.

I know I may get grounded. But it’s better than not getting home at all.

WOW. So I do know a lot.

I know that teens are more likely to be in crashes than adults.

Male v/o: Did you know more than 300,000 teens are injured in crashes each year?

Female v/o: I know my friend could die if I get in a crash. Or I could die. Or somebody I don’t even know could die. And I know I don’t want any of those things to happen.

Male v/o: Did you know motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.?

Female v/o: I know I need to drive safely and always pay attention so I keep my license and get home safely every time. And if I forget anything about driving I know I can ask my parents and they’ll be cool and remind me. WOW.

I really do know everything.

Video from the Century Council