Law Enforcement to Step Up Patrols for St. Patrick's Holiday March 16th-19th

Wed 3-16-2016 IA"], ["Des Moines

(Des Moines)-St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the roadways.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) warns Iowans to not drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014, 28-percent of all crash fatalities during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk drivers, and that number rose to nearly half in the post-party hours of midnight – 6:00 a.m.

Pedestrians walking while intoxicated are also at risk as lack of attention risks getting hit by a vehicle. In 2014, 35-percent of the pedestrians killed in crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

There is some good news, however. The number of fatalities over this holiday period decreased nationally from 32 in 2013 to 29 in 2014. Likewise, the number of fatalities involving drunk drivers declined from more than one-third to one-fourth. The bad news is that every one of those deaths could have been prevented. 

The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau encourages Iowans to plan ahead by identifying a designated driver or utilizing another form of safe transportation for those who choose to drink this St. Patrick’s Day. Officials notes that the relatively small fee for a safe ride home is much cheaper than the thousands of dollars it will cost for a drunk driving arrest. 

Extra law enforcement officers will be on the roads March 16 – 19, 2016.