Drunken-driving fatalities double on St. Patrick's Day

March 9, 2018

Sometimes, luck has nothing to do with it.

StPatrick_sDayStats.jpgDrunken-driving and related fatalities spike on St. Patrick’s Day. The number of drunken-driving fatalities on the nation’s roadways doubled on St. Patrick’s Day in 2016.

Twenty-nine people died each day in 2016 in crashes involving a drunken driver. On St. Patrick’s Day, 60 were killed according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The fatalities in 2016 represent nearly a 15 percent increase on average over the four previous years. From 2012-2016, 269 people were killed in crashes involving a drunken driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

A survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicated 56 percent of all Americans had plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. The NRF added that 139 million Americans will spend nearly $38 each, or $5.3 billion celebrating the holiday.

“We want to see folks around the state get out into their communities and enjoy St. Patrick’s Day,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Col. Kebin Haller said. “But we also want to see folks make plans for a designated driver before they celebrate. It’s the only way that we can keep our community roads safe.”

Fatal traffic crashes involving drunken driving spiked from 28 percent each day to 39 percent on St. Patrick’s Day in 2016 and 69 percent the morning after.

The NRF survey also indicated that 27.5 percent they would be celebrating at a party at a bar or restaurant, another 15.2 percent they would be attending a private party.

Other data showed that 65 percent of all Americans drink (a Gallup poll in 2016) and WalletHub reported that 13 million pints of Guinness would be consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017.

“The reality is even one drink can impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle,” Haller said. “Buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you drink, designate a driver, call a friend, a cab, an Uber or a relative. There is always a safe alternative to get you home safely.”

Haller added that if people see a drunk driver, they should call 911 or 800-442-9090.

For more information, contact WHP Sgt. Kyle McKay at 307-777-4306.