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For Immediate Release:

DON’T PRESS YOUR LUCK THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY
PLAN FOR A SOBER RIDE HOME

Increased Enforcement to Stop Impaired Drivers

March 16, 2016

HANOVER, MD – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today urged Marylanders to plan ahead for a sober ride home before heading out to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day.  Unfortunately, for many people, the Irish holiday is known for green beer and pub crawls, which underscores the need for partygoers to find a designated driver to make sure that they make it home safely without hurting or killing themselves or others.

“There’s no such thing as luck when it comes to drunk driving,” said Secretary Rahn.  “Too many innocent lives are taken from us at the hands of a drunk driver.  Now is the time to plan ahead to ensure you have a safe and sober ride home this St. Patrick’s Day.”

Over the past five years, more than 850 people in Maryland have died as a result of impaired driving and more than 20,000 people have been injured.  Roughly one-third of all Maryland traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver.

Even when an impaired driver does not hurt or kill another person, the penalties of an arrest can be severe and may include: the loss of a license, thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs, lost wages, fees for classes and administrative costs, and the likelihood of having your vehicle fitted with an ignition interlock device.  Nearly 23,000 people were arrested for impaired driving last year in Maryland.

Through the use of overhead message signs displayed along major roadways, drivers will be reminded:

WEAR SHAMROCKS
NOT HANDCUFFS
DRIVE SOBER

Preventing impaired driving starts with taking personal responsibility to ensure a safe and sober ride home.
Here are some tips:

  • If you’re going out to a bar or party, have a designated sober driver to get you home safely.  Keep the numbers of transportation companies in your phone, use public transportation, or make plans to stay overnight.
     
  • Before you take your first sip of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend.  Ensure your designated driver has committed to a sober evening.
     
  • If you’re hosting a party, make sure all your guests have a sober ride.  Keep numbers to cab companies and rideshare programs like Uber or Lyft on hand, and never let anyone get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.
     
  • If you’re the designated driver, do not drink.  Your friends are relying on you, as are the people with whom you share the road.


“There is no excuse to drive drunk,” said MVA Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative Christine Nizer.  “Lives are on the line this St. Patrick’s Day and we need people to plan ahead now for a safe ride home.”

Citizens should call 911 to report a suspected drunk driver.  Please remember to always wear your seat belt, every seat, every time.  A properly fastened seat belt is your best protection in any crash.

For the latest MDOT News, follow us on twitter @MDOTNews and #mdotnews.

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Editor’s Note: Maryland has an app called ENDUI (pronounced “END DUI”), which was developed by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office to prevent impaired driving by helping people plan ahead or find a safe ride home if they have been drinking.  The app is available for free at Google Play for Android phones or at the iTunes Store for iPhones.  For more information on Maryland’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit www.towardzerodeathsmd.com.
 

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