Woonsocket Police Department

St. Patrick’s Day Impaired Driving Advisory
Drinking the Green Beer? Call a Designated Driver!
Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

[Woonsocket, R.I.] — Green beer, leprechauns, and elusive pots of gold are all hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day, the long-awaited Irish holiday. In order to keep your family and friends safe this St. Paddy’s Day, remember one important piece of advice: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. This means that if you plan to drink any alcoholic beverage, even a watered-down green beer, it’s essential that you plan for a designated driver. Nationwide in 2018, 73 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18). For this reason, the Woonsocket Police Department will be teaming up with the local and state law enforcement officers to spread the message about the dangers of impaired driving. Additional patrols will join the state’s normal impaired driving weekend and holiday patrols. These patrols will begin this Friday, March 13, 2020 and continue until 0600 hours, March 18, 2020.
Nationally, according to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018 (the most recent year with impairment data), and 29% (10,511) of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08.
In Rhode Island fifty-nine (59) people lost their lives in fatal crashes on our roadways in 2018. Of those 59 deaths, 20 operators had a BAC greater than .08, and accounted for 34% of states fatalities. Rhode Island is consistently above the national average in fatal crashes involving impaired driver. We have a great deal of work to do and law enforcement can’t do it alone.

Since the beginning of 2020, six (6) pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles in Rhode Island. Impaired drivers endanger pedestrians as well. However, in prior years, impaired pedestrians have been killed. During holiday events, such as St. Patrick’s Day, drivers should stay vigilant for pedestrians who appear to have had too much to drink. On the other hand, walking while intoxicated may be deadly, as pedestrians lacking situational awareness may walk into roadways and get struck by a vehicle.

Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem, for men and for women alike. If drivers are impaired by any substance — alcohol or other drugs — they should not drive. It is illegal in all states to drive impaired by alcohol or drugs which includes Cannabis. Remember: Driving while impaired is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, It’s that simple.
Drinking and driving should never be combined. It’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance if the holiday celebration will include alcohol. The alternative could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of roadway users.

Party with a Plan

First and foremost: Plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Or, is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously — your friends are relying on you.

• Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive, even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage. Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
• If available, use your community’s sober ride program. Warwick, and many other organizations are providing free rides home to residents.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact 911 and be a good witness.
• If you know a friend is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and arrangement to get your friend home safely.
If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.