Traffic Safety and Alcohol Officials Call for Responsibility During St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

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TRENTON – With St. Patrick’s Day parties and parades planned throughout the state this weekend, New Jersey public safety officials today urged revelers to exercise caution if they are planning to consume alcohol during their celebrations.

Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky urged people planning to drink to stay off the road this weekend.

“There’s simply no excuse for drinking and driving. If you plan to attend a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at a local restaurant, tavern or residence, make sure you have a designated driver before heading out,” Poedubicky said. “You’ll not only be ensuring your safety, but the safety of everyone else who is sharing the road with you.”

During St. Patrick’s Day weekend last year (March 12-13), there were five fatalities on New Jersey roads. Over that weekend, a driver with a blood alcohol content of .255 percent was killed in a single-car accident at 4:38 a.m. on Sunday morning. It’s not just other motorists that could suffer the consequences of an impaired driver. Pedestrian fatalities have seen an uptick in recent years and, so far in 2012, 28 pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s just one off the pace of 29 from 2011, when 144 pedestrians lost their lives. Last year, three pedestrians were killed during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

“Motorists must be alert to pedestrians year-round, and in particular on nights when celebrations are taking place and people may be drinking alcohol,” Poedubicky added. “If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.”

Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre called for responsibility from parade and pub-goers this weekend and said the Division’s investigation and enforcement team would be in bars and restaurants making sure licensees were carding drinkers and not serving patrons to the point of intoxication.

“Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to deadly consequences, not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but every day,” Halfacre said. “The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is asking patrons to be aware of the amount of alcohol they consume and reminding establishments that serve alcohol that it is their responsibility not to serve intoxicated patrons.”

Individuals attending a St. Patrick’s Day celebration are also reminded to:

  • Use mass transit, a cab or car service to get to and from their destination.
  • Immediately report drunk drivers and drunk pedestrians to law enforcement.
  • Never let a friend drive drunk. If you know someone is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and arrange for a ride home.
  • Buckle-up, every ride.

Additional information on drunk driving prevention and enforcement programs is available on the Division’s web site at www.njsaferoads.com.


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