Authorities are warning Southlanders celebrating St. Patrick’s Day that law enforcement officers will be out in force Friday, looking for people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“This St. Patrick’s Day, don’t push your luck,” Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Craig Valenzuela said. “Leave your keys at home and plan ahead before you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Designate a sober driver, schedule a ride share or make other plans to get home safely if you plan to consume alcohol.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest times on our nation’s roadways.
“The LAPD warns the community that alcohol is not the only substance that can cause impairment,” Valenzuela said. “Marijuana, prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may also impair. Do your research and understand how certain drugs may affect your driving ability.”
Meanwhile, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control urged business licensees to do their part in the safety effort.
“ABC agents will be out on St. Patrick’s Day to help keep communities safe,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “ABC licensed businesses can do their part by checking IDs and not over-serving alcohol to patrons.”
ABC has partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety to deliver educational message due to the high number of drunk driving crashes that occur near St. Patrick’s Day each year, Hirata said.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that between 2016 and 2020, drunk driving crashes caused 287 deaths during the St. Patrick’s Day period, Hirata said. In 2020, 36% of fatal crashes involved a drunk driver during the same period.
Funding for St Patrick’s Day enforcement is provided by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety through NHTSA.