MADD wants designated drivers for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving fatalities

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Georgia is calling on Georgia residents to make a pledge for safety this St. Patrick’s Day: pledge to be the non-drinking designated driver for your friends and family, or pledge to not drive after drinking.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 38 people in the U.S. were killed in drunk driving crashes on St. Patrick’s Day (and the early morning hours of the next day) in 2011, which represents 34 percent of all highway fatalities for that time period.

“The key is to make plans for how you will get home safely, before you leave the house,” said Barry Martin, MADD Georgia. “MADD urges adults to volunteer to be a non-drinking designated driver, or plan to take a cab or public transportation.”

Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable, yet in Georgia, 277 people were killed in 2011 as a result of drunk driving crashes. Nationwide each year, nearly 10,000 people are killed and another 315,000 are injured in drunk driving crashes. On average, 31 percent of all highway fatalities are caused by drunk driving, but this number spikes over holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, when people may choose to celebrate with alcohol.

MADD’s “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving” is working to prevent drunk driving by supporting high-visibility law enforcement efforts like sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers, and supporting the development of technology to stop a drunk driver (.08 BAC and above) from operating a vehicle.

For tips on how to throw a safe party on St. Patrick’s Day or any time of the year, visit www.madd.org/safeparty.

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving will end this danger on America’s roads.

PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.

Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.