Newport Beach Police Department
Remember: Plan Before You Party
As one of the country’s most popular holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is an occasion for millions of Americans to celebrate their Irish ancestry, and for many more to join in the festivities. Tragically, March 17 has also become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays. In 2016 alone, 60 people across the nation died as a result of drunk-driving traffic collisions during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6:00 p.m. on March 16 to 5:59 a.m. on March 18).
To help lower the number of deaths and injuries, the Newport Beach Police Department will be deploying extra officers on overtime this weekend to target problem areas (places with high numbers of DUI collisions and DUI arrests). Between the hours of 6:00 pm and 3:00 am, these DUI patrols will join our regular officer deployment in looking for the tell-tale signs of impaired driving.
The unfortunate truth is this: while many people are making plans for St. Patrick’s Day, they aren’t all planning out a way to get home safely. Follow these tips to stay safe:
- Before you start celebrating, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both. Some revelers think that they can play it by ear, and wait until after they drink to decide whether or not they’re “okay to drive”. By then, it’s too late.
- Remember that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze”. Drugs (such as many prescription medications, marijuana, or illicit drugs) can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving. If you mix in even a small amount of alcohol, the effects can be compounded.
- If you do decide to drink, you have many options: designate a sober, reliable driver; find a taxi company (or two) and keep their numbers in your phone; or download the California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) mobile app to get connected with free designated-driver incentives at local establishments or to order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb.
- Help those around you be responsible too. If someone you know is impaired by alcohol or drugs, help them get home safely.
- Be alert and report drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1 immediately.
One aspect that is often overlooked is that of pedestrians who have had too much to drink. The NBPD would like to remind the public that walking while intoxicated can be deadly, as lack of attention can put a pedestrian at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
Funding for this deployment is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.