Rockford Police issues St. Patrick’s Day safety reminder

Increased patrols March 17 part of 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over!' campaign

ROCKFORD–As one of the country’s most popular holidays, St. Patrick’s Day has long celebrated the roots of millions of Americans with Irish ancestry. But all-too-often, the celebration can turn deadly because of impaired driving. This year, if you’ll be drinking alcohol, the Rockford Police Department has some advice for you: “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over!”

The Rockford Police Department will be on patrol this St. Patrick’s Day, so make sure you obey the law,” said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea. “Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let your friends do it, either. Help us make zero fatalities a reality in Illinois.”

In addition to looking for alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers, the Rockford Police Department will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are lowest.

“Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive,” Rockford Police Traffic Sgt. Ben Boeke said. “If you choose to drink, designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely from the party. If you’re planning on driving, don’t drink. The last thing you want is to ride home with a cop.”

The Rockford Police Department reminds citizens that designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol.

Other important tips:

If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party:

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in an impaired driving crash.
  • Make sure all guests designate a sober driver in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  • Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.

If you are attending a St. Patrick’s Day party:

  • Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your keys.
  • If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up, or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive drunk.
  • Always buckle up.

Pedestrians are at risk, too. If you are walking, keep an eye out for cars. Designated drivers: Be alert for impaired walkers who may not obey street signs.

The St. Patrick’s Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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