SAN DIEGO â€“ Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are joining forces to remind motorists that driving while intoxicated can result in deadly, life-changing consequences.Â
â€œNo amount of transportation engineering can protect you, your passengers or others when you get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs,â€ said Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman.
Berman added that with St. Patrickâ€™s Day on Monday, many who celebrate may be faced with decisions early on in the evening.Â She said it is best to have a plan ahead of that time, and if you decide to drink, then make arrangements to designate a sober driver or take public transit or a cab.Â Driving while intoxicated is not an option.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said, â€œEnjoy your time celebrating St. Patrickâ€™s Day this year, just be smart about what you do when the celebration is over.â€
Last year on St. Patrickâ€™s Day, the CHP made more than 430 arrests statewide for DUI, which is a 28 percent increase from 2012. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that more than 269 people have been killed nationwide in collisions involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrickâ€™s Day holiday from 2007 to 2011. Those fatalities were preventable.
â€œI applaud Caltrans proactive efforts to encourage those celebrating this St. Patrickâ€™s Day to make responsible decisions regarding drinking and driving,â€ said MADD Executive Director Steve Lykins.Â â€œThe key to saving lives is caring enough to recognize the dangers of impaired driving and to plan ahead.â€
Caltrans, the CHP and MADD urge motorists to report suspected impaired drivers by pulling safely off the road and phoning 9-1-1.