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St. Patrick’s Day, along with the following weekend, presents plenty of opportunities to celebrate in Irish revelry with festivals, parades, dances and other events. While partaking in the revelry, it’s important to plan ahead if you are going to drink alcoholic beverages.

Half of the fatality crashes in the United States over a 12-hour period from 6 p.m. on March 17 through 6 a.m. on March 18 from 2011-20 involved a driver whose blood-alcohol concentration level was .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In Georgia, alcohol is a factor in about 1 out of every 4 traffic deaths each year, but that number rose to 30% in people killed in drunk-driving crashes over a 12-hour period from 6 p.m. on March 17 through 6 a.m. on March 18 from 2011-20.

“Our law enforcement officers do not want to arrest anyone for DUI, but they know every DUI arrest they make is potentially one less family they have to notify that a loved one is not coming home because of a drunk driver,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said. “Taking a few minutes to plan a sober ride before any event involving alcohol will allow you to enjoy the time with your friends without the worry of how you are getting home.”

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and NHTSA offers the following drunk-driving prevention tips:

• Plan ahead for a ride with a sober driver when alcohol is going to be part of whatever you are planning.

• Designate a sober driver before going out. Be a good friend and rotate being the designated driver.

• Reward designated drivers with non-alcoholic drinks.

• Arrange a sober ride for a friend who is about to drive after drinking.

• Report any suspected drunk driver on the road to your local law enforcement agency.

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