When one of the biggest bar holidays of the year falls on a Friday, it’s a foregone conclusion that people are going to be out in mass consuming alcohol.
But if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day tonight, the Manteca Police Department wants to remind you to designate a driver if you plan on consuming anything that could impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle – whether that is alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medications that can make you drowsy.
“Leave your keys at home and plan ahead before you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” Manteca Police Department Traffic Officer Daniel Peters said in a statement about the upcoming holiday weekend. “Designate a sober driver, schedule a ride share or make other plans to get home safely if you plan to consume alcohol.”
According to data compiled by Scram Systems – one of the companies that provides breathalyzer ignition locks required for multiple DUI offenders – more than one-third of all traffic fatalities over the three-day St. Patrick’s Day window in 2020 involved a driver operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
From 2016 through 2020, according to the data compiled from Scram Systems and sourced heavily from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 287 people died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States around St. Patrick’s Day. Considering that roughly 10 percent of the United States claims at some Irish heritage and more than half of all adults polled by WalletHub said that they plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the consumption of alcohol is expected to skyrocket this weekend.
St. Patrick’s Day is the third on the list of holidays where consumption of alcohol is tied directly to the day itself – behind New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July – but it is the holiday that most men equate with the consumption of alcohol. According to Alcohol.org, more than 35 percent of men equate the holiday with binge drinking, and men binge drink more than women by almost 46 percent.
While alcohol is the intoxicant that most people equate with celebrating the holiday, it’s not the only thing that will be on the radar of law enforcement saturation patrols that will be out in force this weekend.
According to Manteca Police Operations Lieutenant Mitch Ellis, marijuana, prescription, and even some over-the-counter medications can impair a motorists ability to operate a vehicle safely. Ellis urges people due their due diligence in understanding how certain drugs can impair motorists and why they should be avoided if driving is in the cards.
Funding for the saturation patrol and the associated overtime is coming from a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety – a subsidiary of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.