LEWIS — As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting is urging motorists to plan a safe ride home from any festivities they attend.
March 17, area law-enforcement officials will be on high alert, cracking down on drunk drivers as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over public-safety campaign.
“Drunk driving is dangerous, deadly and against the law — and it will not be tolerated in Essex County this St. Patrick’s Day,” Cutting said in a press release.
“We are giving fair warning to everyone traveling through Essex County that our law-enforcement officers will be out on patrol, and if you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested.”
Police in Clinton and Franklin counties will also increase patrols around St. Patrick’s Day.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during St. Patrick’s Day holidays from 2006 to 2010.
On average, every 51 minutes, a person is killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States, and the majority of these crashes involve drivers who have blood alcohol concentrations of .15 grams per deciliter or higher, almost twice the legal limit of .08 BAC, according to the news release.
Cutting listed his recommendations to have a safe St. Patrick’s Day:
▶ Before the festivities begin, plan a safe way home.
▶ Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
▶ If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely.
▶ If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.
▶ If you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help the person make other arrangements to get home safely.