St. Patrick's Day weekend sees increased monitoring of drunk driving

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - While St. Patrick's Day is often known as one of the biggest drinking and partying days of the year, Missouri law enforcement is more focused on getting everyone home safely.

Sergeant Scott White of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said this holiday weekend is often a time of increased drunk driving arrests.

"This year the patrol and other law enforcement around the state participate in the March Impaired Driver Enforcement Campaign," White said.  "Last year we had a similar campaign, and law enforcement statewide was able to remove 195 impaired drivers from the roadways."

White said drunk driving is still a major cause of death on the road, despite increased attention and education.

"Year to year we still see people killed by impaired drivers," White said. "Last year we had 165 people killed just in alcohol related crashes and well over 2,600 injured, so removing these drivers from the roadway is something we take very seriously."

White also said St. Patrick's Day is just one of the major holidays where drinking and driving is a primary concern.

"With any of the major holidays, people going out drinking and driving is always a concern for us," White said. "We see it a lot around New Years, around Super Bowl and also around St. Patrick's Day because a lot of that holiday revolves around drinking and going out."

White said those on the roadways are not the only ones with something at stake when it comes to drinking and driving.

"If you're a business or a private homeowner, and you serve people alcohol you have realize that you may face liability or even criminal charges if someone leaves your party and you knew that they were impaired and end up getting into a crash and injuring or killing somebody."

Mike Gallagher, a doorman at Paddy Malone's Irish Pub in Jefferson City, said the bar promotes safe drinking. 

"This is one of those places where if it's a designated driver we'll let them have their Coke or whatever they want to drink or such on the house," Gallagher said. "They really encourage designated driving."

Gallagher also said the pub teams with local taxi cab companies to make sure patrons have a safe ride home.

White said this is the best way to combat drunk driving.

"We suggest to people that if you do go out and drink, make sure you get a designated driver."