Additional Information Contact:
ASP Highway Safety Office – Bridget White
(501) 618-8230

March 11, 2024
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the United States' most popular holidays, celebrated with festivals, parades, and parties. These celebrations frequently feature themed cocktails and green pints, and the amount of alcohol consumed on this holiday is higher than average. People are more likely to make poor decisions as a result, including driving while intoxicated. To raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and to help keep your community’s streets safe, Arkansas law enforcement is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Remember before and throughout the celebrations, if your plans for the holiday include alcohol: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

St. Patrick’s Day can be a dangerous day on America’s roads due to increased alcohol consumption and drunk driving. There were 272 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes over the holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) between 2017 and 2021. Though drunk-driving fatalities are more likely to occur at night, drunk driving puts lives in danger at any time of the day. During that same period, there were 31 daytime drunk-driving fatalities. The consequences of driving impaired can be deadly.

“Celebrate responsibly this St. Patrick's Day. Before you go out, decide who will be your sober designated driver or whether you’ll use another safe transportation option,” said Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar. “Drunk driving is illegal and can have deadly consequences for the intoxicated driver and innocent people in their path.”

According to NHTSA, 13,384 individuals died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021 alone, accounting for 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States that year. This means that someone died in a drunk-driving crash every 39 minutes on our nation’s roads in 2021. During that same period, 185 individuals died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, accounting for 27% of all traffic fatalities in Arkansas.

No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drunk driving. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, ask them not to drive and help them get home safely. You might be saving their life, or someone else’s. Most importantly: Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you may already be too impaired to make the right choices.

Celebrate with a Plan
-- Before heading out, it’s vital to plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking or not. Arkansas law enforcement recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

-- It’s never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave.

-- If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi, ride-share service or a designated driver to drive you home.

-- If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1.

-- If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.

-- Always buckle up. Your seat belt is your best defense against a drunk driver.

-- Always remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

For more information on impaired driving, visit or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8127, and go to to learn about Arkansas’ Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities.