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Don’t rely on luck this St. Patrick’s Day

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Mar 15, 2019 at 1:33 PM

This weekend’s St. Patrick’s day will be a time of celebration for many, but when some celebrate a bit too much, there is a danger for the holiday to turn deadly. While AAA East Central and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) want everyone to enjoy the holiday, it is important to do so with safety in mind. Planning ahead to avoid operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) can keep you and others safe throughout the weekend.

“Not only can OVI result in devastating crashes, but a conviction can weigh heavily on your pocketbook,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central. “Alcohol and driving should never mix, and simple steps taken before a celebration can go a long way towards keeping you and everyone around you safe.”

ODOT statistics prove that drinking and driving continues to be a prevailing problem across the state. In 2018, there were 276 alcohol-related deaths statewide, which represents 24 percent of all traffic deaths in Ohio.

“We want Ohioans to celebrate and have fun, but to do so responsibly. If you’re going to be drinking, please let someone else do the driving. Far too many people have been the victims of someone’s bad decision,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

To help spread awareness this week, ODOT will use its more than 130 digital freeway message boards to display the message: “DON’T GET SHAMROCKED. DRIVE SOBER.”

Tips for avoiding OVI:

Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night. Some options include;

• Designate a driver.

• Take a cab, or a ride share.

• Utilize local public transit.

• Rent a hotel room or stay overnight where you are.

• If hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers. If possible, provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking.

• Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

• Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you suspect a driver is under the influence, stay as far behind their vehicle as possible and as soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 911.

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