Updated: December 4, 2022
With St. Patrick’s Day continuously ranking as one of the most dangerous holidays on our nation’s roads, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is reminding everyone to plan ahead for a safe ride home.
“After a year of experiencing the pandemic, we know that people may be looking for opportunities to celebrate – and that safety may not be top of mind,” MADD National President Alex Otte. It’s so important to arrange for a safe and sober ride home anytime your plans include alcohol.”
Between 2015 and 2019, 280 people died nationally in drunk driving crashes from 6 pm March 16 to 6 am March 18, including 57 in 2019 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than three out of five crashes involved a drunk driver on St. Patrick’s Day 2019.
The Maui Police Department is participating in an Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign on St. Patrick’s Day (Wednesday, March 17).
“Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Even if you’ve had just one drink, please designate a non-drinking driver, take public transportation or call a taxi or rideshare service,” said Otte, who suffered a severe brain injury, a broken neck and collarbone, a shattered jaw, a lacerated liver, two shattered femurs and the loss of her right leg below the knee when she was struck by a drunk driver at age 13.
MADD Hawaii also reminds everyone that it is illegal to drive while impaired by any substance, including legal and illegal drugs.
“Contrary to what some people think, marijuana does not make you a better driver,” said Theresa Paulette, MADD Hawaiʻi’s Victim Services Specialist. “In fact, it slows reaction time and the ability to make decisions, all of which are necessary to drive safely. The risk of combining alcohol and marijuana is greater than either by itself.”
In 2019, one person was killed every 52 minutes by a drunk driver. Another 300,000 were injured due to someone else’s bad choice.
“Don’t make that choice,” Otte said. “We want everyone to have a good time. We also want everyone to stay safe.”