St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday, March 17th. While it is the day those of Irish heritage tend to indulge in green beer and whisky, it has also evolved into an American drinking tradition for many others. Unfortunately, this day also means an increased incidence of DUIs, accidents, and injuries.
The legal alcohol limit in Rhode Island is 0.08% if you’re 21-years of age or older. However, the limit for minors is only 0.02% and if you hold a commercial driver’s license it is 0.04%. Obviously, if you plan to celebrate or drive on that day, you need to take precautions to stay safe. Consider the following options to avoid getting into trouble with the law or encountering drunk drivers.
Plan Your Ride
If you are planning on celebrating with friends at a party or bar, arrange for a car service for you and your friends. You can split the cost of a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to ensure everyone gets home safely.
Alternatively, consider using a designated driver that does not drink. Many bars and restaurants offer free soft drinks to these drivers so they don’t feel left out during the celebration.
Drunk driving incidents spike every year on St. Patrick’s Day. The Rhode Island State Police DUI Task Force will patrol on Sunday and state police officers patrol all day across the entire state. Don’t risk it – avoid drunk driving and don’t ride with an inebriated driver either.
Pack Your Toothbrush
Many times St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are celebrated far from your home. If you intend to attend, plan where you’ll spend the night too. Either book a hotel room or make arrangements to stay with a friend. Bring your toothbrush, get a good night’s sleep, and stay off the roads.
Even when you drink responsibly, other drivers may not. The likelihood of a fatal drunk driving accident increases three-fold after sunset, so try to start early and leave before dark.
At the very least, leave before last call when intoxicated drivers exit bars and parties and head to their vehicles.
Host a St. Patrick’s Day Party
Staying home on Paddy’s Day helps you avoid drunk drivers. Always make food available during an event when you serve alcohol and provide alcohol-free options too.
As a host, you’re legally responsible for the well-being of their guests and liable if a person leaves your party intoxicated and injures or kills someone. Set up the guest bedroom, call a taxi, or stay sober and drive friends home.
Even though you’re hosting the party, it is illegal is serve alcohol to minors. Don’t allow guests to drink from open containers on the sidewalk in front of your home. It’s illegal and violations can cost up to $1,000.
Consider using a venue with a bartender. They assume the legal responsibility for serving the alcohol. Moreover, bartenders have the training to spot the signs of intoxication so you can’t enjoy your party instead of monitoring guests.
There’s no reason you can’t have a great time on St. Patrick’s Day without drinking alcohol. Meet friends and family at a local restaurant, feast on corned beef and cabbage or fish and chips, talk and have a great time. It’s the simplest way to keep your wits about you and avoid intoxicated drivers.