Today is St. Patrick’s Day and the state Department of Public Safety has issued a reminder. Spokesman Jim Saunders says it’s no secret that this holiday carries a tradition of celebrating with “adult beverages.” The agency sees an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents, including accidents, so they’re putting out a reminder to take responsibility, have a safe evening, and not risk people’s lives. Unfortunately the stereotype is too often true about those who tip a few on St. Pat’s Day, he says. Saunders cites a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finding that 32-percent of all traffic fatalities that happen on the highway around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday were the result of impaired drivers, and in those cases they had blood-alcohol readings of point-oh-eight-percent or above. That reading is the legal limit for drunk driving in Iowa, as in many other states. In Iowa, impaired driving claims more than 100 lives in the average year, and figures show the holidays are the most dangerous times. He says local patrols are well aware of that. There’s special focus on alcohol-related offenses, as he says the police, deputies and other law-enforcement officers on the beat are going to be keeping a sharp eye out for drunks. If adults do plan to drink while celebrating, Saunders suggests they agree on a designated driver before their outing begins.
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