St. Patrick’s Day is the last major social celebration before spring technically begins. What started out as a largely Irish holiday has become a major cultural event in the United States. People from all different cultural backgrounds may enjoy traditional Irish cuisine and music on March 17th. They may also join the raucous celebrations that occur on this unique holiday.
Oftentimes, St Patrick’s Day celebrations involve the consumption of green-colored beer, traditional Irish brews or whiskey. Some people drink more than they should, and those individuals could worsen their situations by making the decision to drive home from a party or venue. As a result, police officers are likely to be on high alert watching for drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day because of the known tendency of people to over-consume alcohol.
Drunk driving crashes increase on St. Patrick’s Day
There are collision statistics affirming the claim that people often drink too much and then drive home on St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, like many other holidays, St. Patrick’s Day sees more drunk driving collisions and fatalities than the average day would.
In 2021, the most recent year with data available, there were 47 confirmed traffic deaths caused by drunk driving collisions. The vast majority of those crashes occurred after 6 p.m. on March 17th and before 6 a.m. on the 18th. Despite the greater risk during the night hours, researchers point out that there were at least 31 drunk driving fatalities between 2017 and 2021 during daylight hours.
Due to the strong association of St. Patrick’s Day with alcohol consumption and drunk driving crashes, police departments are often out in full force later in the day on March 17th. The chances of encountering sobriety checkpoints may be higher, and there may be more officers out conducting one-on-one traffic stops to screen people for signs of intoxication.
Even those who do not cause crashes might be at risk of arrest and prosecution. Heightened scrutiny of drivers on St. Patrick’s Day and other holidays may lead to people facing unnecessary arrests and prosecutions. Looking over the state’s evidence with an attorney may help people determine the best defense strategy when accused of drunk driving on St. Patrick’s Day or another popular holiday.