Maui News

MADD: Have fun but don’t drive drunk on St. Patrickʻs Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most dangerous on the nation’s roads due to drunk drivers. MADD reminds people who celebrate the holiday to be responsible and plan for a designated driver.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reminds people to plan ahead for a safe ride home on Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that continuously ranks as one of the most dangerous on the nation’s roads.

“Plan for your non-drinking driver, whether it’s a friend, rideshare or public transportation, at the same time you’re making plans to celebrate,” said Theresa Paulette, MADD Hawaiʻi’s Victim Services Specialist. “We want everyone to have a good time and we want everyone to stay safe.”

Between 2015 and 2019, 280 people died in drunk driving crashes from 6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On St. Patrickʻs Day 2019, more than three out of five crashes involved a drunk driver.

Drunk driving remains the leading killer on America’s roads. Data released earlier this month by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed 11,654 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2020. It is the highest number of drunk driving deaths since 2008 and a 14% increase in drunk driving deaths from 2019 to 2020 despite fewer cars on the road due to the pandemic.

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Drunk driving also remains a leading killer on Hawaiʻi’s roads with the national traffic safety agency reporting 27 people killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2020 (31% of Hawaiʻi’s total traffic deaths).

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“Alcohol-related deaths and injuries are 100% preventable, 100% of the time,” MADD National President Alex Otte said. “It’s also illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, legal or illegal, and while some people incorrectly believe the myth that marijuana makes people better drivers, that is completely false. Marijuana slows reaction time and the ability to make decisions, and combining alcohol and marijuana is even more dangerous than either by itself.”

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