Don”t Rely on Luck This St. Patrick’s Day, Plan for a Safe Ride Home NR12124rh

March 16, 2012

Los Angeles: If you plan to get behind the wheel after too much celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day, Valley Traffic Division along with local law enforcement officials have some simple and sage advice for you: “Don’t do it!”  Police in the San Fernando Valley will be out in force all day and all night in a highly visible enforcement campaign to crack down on revelers who are driving drunk.

“Don’t think that drinking green beer gives you the right to spill red blood on the streets of the San Fernando Valley – your or anyone else’s,” said Captain Ivan Minsal, Commanding Officer of the Valley Traffic Division.  “We encourage everyone who plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with alcohol to keep in mind our anti-drunk-driving campaign slogan, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” said Sergeant Arturo Gomez, Officer-in-Charge of Valley Traffic Division’s Community Traffic Services Unit.  “If you’ve had too much to drink, make sure you can rely on a sober, designated driver to get you home safety or arrange to take a cab or bus so you do not become a statistic.”

No one ever imagines – when they are getting ready for an evening out – that they will be involved in an impaired driving crash. But it happens thousands of times every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analysis show alcohol-impaired crashes claimed a life every 51 minutes in 2010.  On St. Patrick’s Day alone, 32 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving. In all cases, these crashes are preventable.

"The numbers, and more importantly, the experiences of thousands of victims, tell us that impaired driving continues to be a significant problem in our country that is preventable," said Captain Minsal. "We encourage everyone to be part of the solution by planning ahead. It takes just a few minutes, but it can save you and your loved ones from a lifetime of grief."

Impaired driving creates serious consequences.

The tragedies and costs from driving impaired do not end with potential death and injury.
Driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle while impaired is not worth the risk.  The consequences are serious and real.  Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant.
Drunk driving violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work.
Refusing to take a sobriety test in many jurisdictions may result in the loss of your driver’s license and enhanced penalties.  Not to mention the added embarrassment, humiliation, and consequences after informing family, friends and employers.
Please remember that Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.  Designate your sober driver before the St. Patrick’s Day parties begin.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s – Valley Traffic Division recommends the following easy steps for a safe St. Patrick’s Day:
Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
Before drinking, please 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 so you are sure to get home safely.
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

For more information, please contact Sergeant Arturo Gomez at 805-559-9637, or Valley Traffic Division Watch Commander at 818-644-8010.