PARKERSBURG - As St. Patrick's Day approaches, the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program reminds drivers not to get behind the wheel if they've been drinking alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick's Day holiday from 2006 to 2010.
"Whether you are gathering with friends at the local pub or attending a parade, or party, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely" said Toni Tiano with the Highway Safety Program.
According to NHTSA, on average, every 51 minutes a person is killed in a drunken driving crash in the United States and the majority of these crashes involve drivers who have blood alcohol concentrations of 0.15 grams per deciliter or higher, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08.
To prevent these tragedies from happening, Tiano recommends the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day:
* Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
* Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
* If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
* If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.
* If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
During the St. Patrick Day weekend, law enforcement agencies throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley Region will have extra overtime DUI patrols on the streets.