St. Patty’s Day – Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

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With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department is reminding residents to drive sober or get pulled over.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 269 people have been senselessly killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2007 to 2011. Those fatalities were preventable.

The Hasbrouck Heights Police Department will be conducing a DWI crackdown during the St. Pat’s holiday weekend, and are encouraging party-goers to secure sober transportation, or face the consequences.

The crackdown, which is part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, will run from March 13 through March 17. It will target drunk drivers and those not wearing seat belts.

“St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can turn dangerous and deadly on our roadways because of drunk driving,” said Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief Michael Colaneri. “Make sure you designate a sober driver at the beginning of your night of festivities. Be smart, be responsible or risk a DWI.”

Chief Colaneri is warning party hosts that they can also be held liable and be prosecuted if someone served at a party is later involved in a drunken driving crash.

“Driving drunk is a deadly decision and it is against the law. We will show zero tolerance,” Chief Colaneri said. “So remember, designate a sober driver before the party begins and always buckle up.”

Party hosts should be sure to serve a lot of food and have non-alcoholic beverages available to guests. In addition, hosts should keep phone numbers for local cab companies on hand, and take the keys away from anyone who could be at risk for drunken driving.

For those who plan on drinking over the holiday weekend, the HHPD offered several tips.

  • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
  • 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. You could save a life.
  • And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.

Buckling up when you’re out and about over the weekend is your best defense against a drunken driver. The HHPD will be cracking down on seat belt violators during this period of extra enforcement, especially at night when the highest number of seat belt violations occur.

The St. Patrick’s Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket campaigns are funded by federal traffic safety funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety.

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