Road Dangers Posed to Us on St. Patrick’s Day

If you go out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, take extra care on the roads. March 17 is one of the most dangerous days of the year. Traditionally, St. Paddy’s Day is celebrated with the wearing of the green, corned beef and cabbage, shamrocks, and excessive alcohol consumption. Between parades, pub crawls, and private parties, motorists, pedestrians, and anyone sharing the road is at risk.

St. Patrick’s Day Accident Statistics

Road Dangers Posed to Us on St. Patrick’s DayThe highest grossing day of the year for U.S. bars and restaurants is March 17, according to a NielsenIQ analysis. In a recent year, sales rose by 174% for beer and by 153% for spirits on St. Patrick’s Day. The increase in alcohol consumption on this holiday has led to a spike in fatal traffic crashes. As stated in a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • More than 30% of traffic deaths in 2020 during the St. Patrick’s Day period from 6:00 pm March 16 to 5:59 am March 18 involved a drunk driver.
  • 287 lives were lost in alcohol-related accidents during the St. Patrick’s Day period from 2016 to 2020.

Causes of St. Patrick’s Day Accidents

Although many St. Paddy’s Day accidents are caused by drunk drivers, intoxicated pedestrians also pose a risk. NHTSA reports that 30% of pedestrians in fatal 2020 traffic crashes had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Common causes traffic crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday include:

  • Alcohol-impaired driving: For many citizens, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by consuming alcohol in larger than usual quantities. This tradition increases the risk of drunk driving accidents.
  • Drug-impaired driving: With the legalization of marijuana in many states, some choose to celebrate the holiday with cannabis as an alternative to alcohol. Marijuana use significantly impairs driving ability.
  • Aggressive driving: Drivers who speed, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, run red lights and stop signs, and fail to yield the right of way to other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians put everyone on the road at risk, particularly during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
  • Intoxicated pedestrians: During St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls, revelers walk from one bar to the next, drinking at every stop. This significantly increases the risk of pedestrian accidents.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Road on St. Paddy’s Day

Despite the risks, many residents of the area celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. If you are on the roads for any reason during this holiday, the following tips can help keep you safe:

  • Don’t drive if you have been drinking. Appoint a designated driver in advance, get an Uber, call a taxi, use public transportation, or call a sober friend or family member to pick you up.
  • Don’t let your friends drink and drive. Arrange a safe ride home for them instead.
  • Never accept a ride from someone who has been drinking or using drugs.
  • Drink responsibly: Binge drinking is encouraged on St. Patrick’s Day, but it can lead to alcohol poisoning and a visit to the emergency room. If alcohol is part of your celebrations, be sure to eat food, drink plenty of water, and sip your drinks instead of slamming them.
  • If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, buckle up, obey the speed limit, stay alert, and watch out for drunk drivers and intoxicated pedestrians.
  • Avoid congested or heavy traffic areas. The fewer the pedestrians and vehicles, the lower the risk of an accident.

Wrecks can sometimes happen, no matter how diligently we drive. If you have been injured in a St. Patrick’s Day traffic crash, contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555. Our Colorado Springs personal injury lawyers have a history of success, inside and outside the courtroom.