Steeped in tradition, Irish people have been observing the Roman Catholic
feast day known as St. Patrick’s Day every March 17 for hundreds
of years. That’s right – the day that’s now excessively
celebrated in America with green beer and pub crawls actually commemorates
the death of a fifth century patron saint who spent much of his life converting
the Irish to Christianity. In fact, the religious background of the holiday
caused Ireland to close its pubs on March 17 every year until the 1970s.
Early U.S. parades took place in Boston and New York, as burgeoning immigrant
communities found great pride in connecting with their heritage.
Today, it is common for everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day regardless
of ancestry. Festivities may be week-long, and many incorporate alcohol.
Advertisements for block parties, parades, happy hours and more from around
South Florida prominently feature “partying hard.” For too
many in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has ended in tragedy
due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel.
A study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that 32 percent of all fatalities from motor vehicle crashes on
St. Patrick’s Day in 2010 involved alcohol.
During the holiday from 2009 to 2013, there were a total of 276 lives lost in drunk-driving
crashes. From 2010 to 2014, nearly two out of three traffic fatalities
between midnight and 6:00 a.m. on the day after St. Patrick’s Day
occurred in drunk driving crashes.
Drunk driving accidents are one of the leading causes of death and injury on America’s roads. There were over 10,000 fatalities in 2013 in crashes involving a driver
with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher and an average of one alcohol-impaired
driving fatality every 52 minutes. Driving while intoxicated just isn’t
worth the risk. Even if you don’t injure yourself or someone else
in an accident, an arrest can mean jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s
license, towing fees, and court costs.
Eating, taking breaks, and consuming non-alcoholic drinks are good ways
to slow down liquor intake. Make alternative transportation arrangements
if you drink, such as getting a ride with a sober friend or calling a
taxi. If you’re at a friend’s house, ask if you can stay overnight.
Giving your body time to process the alcohol is the only way to sober
up, so staying where you are is key if you can’t find a ride. No
matter the date on the calendar, if you have been drinking, don’t
drive. Making responsible decisions and taking appropriate measures can
go a long way toward reducing the terrible consequences of driving under
the influence of alcohol.
If you aren’t drinking this St. Paddy’s day, be extra cautious
when driving. Watch out for tipsy pedestrians who may ignore crosswalks or stumble off
sidewalks. Minimize distractions by staying off your cell phone and programming
your GPS in advance. Obey traffic signals, don’t speed, and wear
Everyone at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. wishes our community and Floridians
everywhere a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day. We urge you to take extra precautions while on the road during this holiday,
because even though you may not have been drinking, you don’t know
who out there has had one too many. While we hope that the celebration
passes without incident, we are here if you need us. If you have any questions
about this topic, or have been hurt by a drunk driver, you can find out
more by discussing it with the Miami, FL personal injury attorneys at
Stabinski & Funt, P.A. Contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a case evaluation form.