St. Patrick’s Day is one of the top drinking holidays of the year. Along with wearing green and eating corned beef and cabbage, people all over New York celebrate on March 17 by consuming green beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages. Drunk driving accidents can reach a high during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period.
St. Patrick’s Day Traffic Crash Statistics
Roadways in New York and throughout the nation are riskier than ever during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In 2020, during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (from 6:00 pm March 16 to 5:59 am March 18) 36% of traffic fatalities in the U.S. involved a drunk driver, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From 2016 to 2020 during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, 287 people were killed in drunk driving crashes.
Causes of St. Patrick’s Day Accidents
The number one cause of motor vehicle accidents on St. Patrick’s Day is alcohol-impaired driving. Even a few drinks can impair a driver’s vision, color distinction, reaction time, and judgment. Other dangerous driving behaviors that cause traffic crashes include speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, failure to yield the right of way, and distracted driving.
Walking while intoxicated can also lead to deadly accidents. NHTSA reports that 30% of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2020 had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. The official New York City pub crawl, with 50 participating bars, takes place on St. Paddy’s Day weekend, when thousands of people will be walking from bar to bar throughout the city.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Road on St. Patrick’s Day
The law imposes severe punishment for drinking and driving and other reckless behavior. Possible penalties for driving while intoxicated in New York include jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Nevertheless, during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more drunk drivers are on the road, along with more people walking intoxicated. The following tips can help you stay safe on the road on St. Paddy’s Day:
- Do not drive if you have been drinking. Even a few drinks can impair driving ability.
- Do not allow your friends to drink and drive.
- Never ride with a driver who has been drinking.
- Do not let drinking get out of control. It is okay to celebrate St. Patrick’s with alcoholic beverages but drinking too much can lead to problems.
- Make a plan in advance – choose a designated driver or call a taxi, Uber, or a sober friend to give you a ride home. If you are with a group, plan a meeting place in case of separation when it is time to go home.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Watch out for drunk drivers and groups of out-of-control pedestrians on the sidewalks or on the road.
- Plan your route to take less traveled roads if possible. The fewer vehicles are on the road, the lower the risk of a crash.
- Wear a seat belt to reduce the risk of catastrophic injuries if a drunk driver hits you.
How a Lawyer Can Help After a St. Patrick’s Day Accident
If you have been injured in a St. Patrick’s Day car accident or pedestrian accident, your best chance of recovering full and fair compensation is to have a team of experienced New York personal injury attorneys on your side. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP (WRSMH), we have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. Our firm offers experience, compassion, and results. Call us at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation.