“IRVING, Texas (March 12, 2003) – On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, one of the most dangerous holidays for drunk driving, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is urging Americans to celebrate safely by designating a non-drinking driver. During St. Patrick’s Day and other high-risk periods throughout the year, MADD’s Designate a Driver campaign raises awareness about the dangers of mixing alcohol with driving.
On St. Patrick’s Day in 2001, 99 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes, representing over 61 percent of those killed in all crashes – – well above the overall national average of 41 percent.
“The ‘Luck of the Irish’ will not be enough to protect you should you encounter an impaired driver, but we can all play our part in preventing needless deaths and injuries by making the simple decision to designate a non-drinking driver,” said Wendy Hamilton, MADD national president. “Holidays can take a tragic turn if people choose to drink and drive.”
As part of the campaign, MADD offers a Safe Party Guide, a free resource available on the MADD Web site, urging hosts to be responsible by offering a variety of non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers, never serving alcohol to those under the legal drinking age of 21, not letting guests mix their own drinks, and never allowing guests who have had too much to drink to drive home. The guide also offers non-alcoholic drink recipes and more.
MADD is also calling on all restaurant and bar owners to practice responsible beverage serving practices by declining alcohol service to persons who are not of legal drinking age, cutting off alcohol service to guests and patrons that are impaired, and providing alternate transportation for those guests and patrons who have had too much to drink.
“In 2001, alcohol-related traffic crashes claimed the lives of 17,448 people and injured more than 513,000 others. These deaths and injuries are 100 percent preventable,” said Hamilton. “Personal responsibility will go a long way towards ensuring that our friends and loved ones stay safe this holiday.”
Founded in 1980, MADD is a non-profit organization with approximately two million members and supporters nationwide. MADD’s mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. For campaign information or MADD’s Safe Party Guide, visit MADD’s web site at www.madd.org.”