Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a new press release about St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations.

St. Patrick’s Day is a dangerous time to be driving. According to the press release:

On St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, 45 alcohol-related crashes occurred in Virginia involving 71 drivers. Sixty-five percent of the 71 drivers were drinking. Thirty-five, or 78 percent, of the 45 crashes happened between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m. The three Virginia jurisdictions with the most alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day last year were Fairfax County, Richmond City and Smyth County.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 851 people nationally lost their lives in crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday over the past five years. Out of that number, 327 were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Please have a designated driver if you must go out drinking this St. Patrick’s Day and remember that Virginia has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the country.

Convicted drunk drivers in Virginia could get jail time, several thousand dollars costs in fines and attorney’s fees, higher insurance rates, and loss of their job.

There are also those who have accidents and get horribly injured of die, or kill another innocent person.

Virginia has the HERO Program to encourage designated drivers and many establishments across Virginia are offering free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers.

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