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The Driving Threats Posed by St. Patrick’s Day

By Jason Bottlinger on March 10, 2023

One of the most dangerous driving days of the year is right around the corner. In honor of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 with shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, the wearing of the green, and plenty of green beer and other alcoholic beverages. With parades, pub crawls, and private parties, this is one of the worst days of the year for intoxicated drivers and pedestrians on the roadways.

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

  • Patrick’s Day is the highest grossing day of the year for bars and restaurants in the U.S., according to a recent analysis by NielsenIQ.
  • Beer sales increased by 20% over the previous weekend during St. Patrick’s Day last year, while pubs and bars saw a 57% increase in business.
  • In 2020, more than one-third (36%) of traffic deaths during the St. Patrick’s Day period from 6:00 pm March 16 to 5:59 am March 18 involved a drunk driver, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • From 2016 to 2020, during the St. Patrick’s Day period, 287 lives were lost in drunk driving wrecks.
  • 30% of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2020 had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08% or higher.

Causes of St. Patrick’s Day Accidents

Drinking and driving is one of the main causes of traffic collisions during the March 17 holiday. Intoxicated pedestrians in the roadways can also contribute to the problem. In St. Paddy’s Day pub crawls, groups of partiers walk from one bar to the next, drinking at each stop. A total of 31 pedestrians with BAC of .08% or higher were killed in pedestrian crashes in 2019, as reported by Traffic Safety Marketing.

Distracted drivers, texting or talking on their phones, are always a danger, and even more so on St. Patrick’s Day. Aggressive drivers who speed, run red lights or stop signs, and fail to yield the right of way to other motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians can make the roads an even more dangerous place to be.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Road on St. Patrick’s Day

If you plan to be on the roads on St. Patrick’s Day, the following tips can help keep you safe:

  • Do not drink and drive: Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use a rideshare service, use public transportation, or call a friend or family member to give you a ride home.
  • If you drink, do so safely: Patrick’s Day festivities often encourage binge drinking. Try to drink responsibly with a 1:1 ratio of water to alcohol. Use moderation by sipping beverages rather than chugging or tossing them. Space out your drinks and consume food with them to help prevent illness and injury.
  • Remain alert and diligent while driving: Watch out for intoxicated, distracted, or aggressive drivers who may not follow the rules of the road.
  • Avoid congested areas and roads with heavy traffic: Accidents are more likely to happen in areas where intoxicated pedestrians may stumble out into your path, or where heavy traffic increases the likelihood of drunk drivers.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings if you are walking: Try to walk in a group, stay on the sidewalks as much as possible, maintain a safe distance from vehicles, and avoid high traffic areas.

After a St. Patrick’s Day crash with injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced Omaha personal injury attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we have recovered millions for our clients. Contact us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.

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