CHP to Crack Down on St. Patrick's Day Celebrants Who Imbibe and Drive

Highway Patrol vehicle driving on a street

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The California Highway Patrol and municipal law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County will be cracking down today on motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs while celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

``If you plan on drinking alcohol on St. Patrick's Day, do not rely on luck ... use a ride share service, public transit or a taxi to ensure you reach your destination safely,'' CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. ``Not having a plan in place if your celebration includes the use of alcohol can result in a crash, jail time, injuries or even death.''

According to Ray, last year on St. Patrick's Day, three people were killed and 76 injured in DUI crashes statewide. By comparison, in 2020, 31 people were injured because of intoxicated driving, but there were no fatalities, according to statistics.

In the CHP's jurisdiction, 211 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI during St. Patrick's Day 2021.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will have additional deputies on patrol Thursday looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

During the 2019 St. Patrick's Day holiday period, nearly half of all traffic deaths throughout the United States involved a drunk driver, according to sheriff's Sgt. Robert Hill.

``Alcohol is not the only substance that can cause impairment,'' Hill said. `` Cannabis, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal drugs can all lead to a DUI.''

Hill urged anyone seeing a suspected impaired motorist to call 911.

Officials noted that a DUI conviction can lead to suspension or revocation of driving privileges, fines up to $10,000 and possibly jail or prison time if injuries or deaths result from a collision.

Funding for the extra patrols was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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