Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is reminding everyone to plan ahead for a safe ride home this St. Patrick’s Day, which continuously ranks as one of the most dangerous holidays on our nation’s roads. We are concerned that after a year of dealing with the pandemic, people will be looking for opportunities for celebrations and safety may not be top of mind. Keep any gathering safe and happy by planning and designating a non-drinking driver.

Between 2015 and 2019, 280 people died in drunk driving crashes from 6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18, including 57 in 2019 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than three out of five crashes involved a drunk driver over St. Patrick’s Day in 2019.

St. Patricks Day, Nuuanu Ave. and Merchant St., Honolulu

Drunk driving is the leading killer on America’s roads. New data released earlier this month by NHTSA showed 11,654 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2020 – the highest number of drunk driving deaths since 2008 and a 14% increase in drunk driving deaths from 2019 to 2020 despite fewer cars on the road. Drunk driving remains a leading killer on Hawaii’s roads. NHTSA showed 27 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes or 31.76% of total deaths.

“Alcohol-related deaths and injuries are 100% preventable, 100% of the time,”said MADD National President Alex Otte. “It’s also illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, legal or illegal, and while some people incorrectly believe the myth that marijuana makes people better drivers, that is completely false. Marijuana slows reaction time and the ability to make decisions, and combining alcohol and marijuana is even more dangerous than either by itself.”

“Plan for your non-drinking driver, whether it’s rideshare, a friend or public transportation, at the same time you’re deciding where to celebrate,” said MADD Hawaii’s Victim Services Specialist, Theresa Paulette. “We want everyone to have a good time. We also want everyone to stay safe.”