Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub is warning anyone who is thinking of getting behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs not to press their luck.
At the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown Borough on Thursday, Weintraub joined with transportation and police officials to urge people to be safe during the St. Patrick’s Day season.
St. Patrick’s Day is next Friday, but many bars are starting celebrations this weekend.
“We understand that people will enjoy themselves on St. Paddy’s Day. But there is no excuse for anyone to drink or do drugs and drive,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “There are too many responsible options for people to use instead. Use a designated driver, call a cab, call a parent or a friend, use Lyft or Uber, to name a few. Just be safe!”
Warrington Township police Chief Daniel Friel said authorities are expecting a longer period of partying due to when the holiday falls this year.
“If you’ve been drinking, make the smart choice to plan for a sober driver to get you and your friend’s home safely. Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day become an anniversary of a tragic night,” Friel said.
According to PennDOT data, there were 70 collisions and two deaths in the Philadelphia area during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in 2022. PennDOT counted the two weekends around St. Patrick’s Day holiday in their data.
“Drunk drivers are a continuing problem on our nation’s roads, especially around days like St. Patrick’s Day,” said PennDOT Safety Press Officer Krys Johnson. “People need to know that they can go out for a night of fun and return home safely by ensuring they have a sober driver take them home. Don’t be the reason someone – including yourself – doesn’t get home.”
According to a recent AAA Foundation for Road Safety study, risky driving practices increased between 2020 and 2021. The most concerning increase was among drivers who admitted to driving after drinking enough to feel they were above the legal limit; this group increased by over 24 percent.
“Don’t rely on the ‘luck of the Irish’ this St. Patrick’s Day,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public and Government Affairs Jana Tidwell.
PennDOT and law enforcement encourage locals to party with a plan:
• Plan ahead: If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make a smart decision, you might not. Before you have one drink, designate a sober driver who won’t be drinking.
• You have options: Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a rideshare service. Getting home safely is always worth it.
• If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously, and don’t drink.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
• Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and let a sober driver get your friend home safely.