By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
Published March 15, 2019 — 10:45 a.m. EST
A few extra drinks will probably be flowing this weekend as St. Patrick’s Day will be on Sunday.
Michigan State Police are warning all who plan to partake in the fun that authorities will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.
Their advice to drivers: plan before you party.
On Sunday, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative called Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts).
“Don’t rely on luck. If you plan on celebrating, plan ahead by designating a sober driver or scheduling a ride on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “We want the roads safe for everyone using them. Troopers will be out looking for impaired drivers.”
Authorities suggest downloading a ride sharing app or programming a taxi service’s number into your phone before the festivities begin.
The enforcement period begins at 12:01 a.m., on Sunday, March 17, and will end at 11:59 p.m.
Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation’s longest-running traffic safety initiatives. It focuses on deterring the three main causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.
March 17 has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than a quarter of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
The early hours of March 18 were even worse that year.
Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly half of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
Additionally, from 2010 to 2014, almost three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during the holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol contents well above the .08 legal limit, with 266 drunk-driving fatalities total.
Drivers need to also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink.
Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention and coordination puts drunk pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.