ROANOKE, Va. - With St. Patrick's Day this weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding everyone that "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving."
In 2016, officials said 60 people were killed in drunken driving crashes over the St. Patrick's Day holiday period from 6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18, according to NHTSA fatal crash data.
Virginia State Police said NHTSA is encouraging everyone to take the following safety precautions:
- Designate a sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.
- If you don't have a designated driver, you can use NHTSA's SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend. Officials said the app is available for Android devices on Google Play and Apple devices on the App Store.
- Never let a friend drive drunk. Officials said to arrange a safe way for them to get home.
- Don't ride in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.
- Always buckle up. Officials said it's your best defense against drunken drivers.
For those who are hosting a party:
- Make sure all guests designate their sober drivers in advance.
- Serve plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages at the party.
- Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party and keep serving nonalcohol drinks and food.
- Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving after drinking and get them a ride home.
- Officials said you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served alcohol to ends up in a drunken driving crash.
"Please don't allow the deadly consequences of alcohol-impaired and drug-impaired driving to ruin the St. Patrick's Day festivities. Make a plan to get home safely," NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said.
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