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St. Patrick’s Day among deadliest times for drunken driving crashes

(WWLP) — Coming out of the cold winter months, St. Patrick’s Day festivities are a welcome chance to reconnect with friends and family. But the holiday is one of the deadliest times of the year for drunken driving crashes.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, from 2015 through 2019, 280 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on March 16, 17, and 18. Fifty-seven people died in 2019 alone.

If you do plan to drink, organize a safe, sober ride home. Even if you are walking, keep safety in mind. In 2019, one-third of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal driving limit of .08%.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it only takes a small amount of alcohol to affect driving ability. In 2019, 1,775 people died in alcohol-related crashes in which a driver had a BAC of .01% to .07%, the agency stated.

NHTSA says drunken driving charges range from misdemeanors to felonies. Penalties can include driver’s license revocation, fines and jail time.

“It’s also extremely expensive,” the agency said. “A first-time offense can cost the driver upwards of $10,000 in fines and legal fees.”

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