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AAA: Be a saint, drive sober

AAA: Be a saint, drive sober (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

(WSLS 10) - St. Patrick's Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold, and good luck. But no amount of luck can save you from a drunk-driving crash. 

Officials with AAA say unfortunately, March 17 has become a deadly day in the United States, with a dramatic spike in drunk-driving fatalities. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2013 (6 p.m., March 16 to 5:59 a.m., March 18), more than a third (40 percent) of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. 

They say the night of March 17, St. Patrick's Day, is especially bad. In the post-celebration hours between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, half of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. And we're not just talking about a little bit too much to drink here; from 2009 to 2013, almost three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities on St. Patrick's Day involved drivers who were twice the legal limit. 

So whether you're buzzed or drunk on St. Patrick's Day, it doesn't matter. NHTSA wants to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving - drive sober.

AAA says let's make 2015 different. Use this party-planning checklist to stay safe this St. Patrick's Day.  

    • NOW: Even if you don't have plans yet, plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. Save the number of a taxi company in your phone so you always have a backup plan.
    • WHEN YOU MAKE PLANS: A sober driver is an essential part of any party plan. Once you know where you'll celebrate, decide whether you're drinking or driving. You can only choose one.
    • ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. If you're the designated driver, don't drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and brag about your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver. Only drive sober or ride with a sober driver.
    • EVERY DAY: If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.