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Friends don't let friends drive drunk this St. Patrick's Day

Date: 03.15.2011
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar Phone: (330) 375-4930

Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, Phone: (330) 375-4930, Email: farquharj@summahealth.org

AKRON, Ohio, March 15, 2011 – For many Americans, St. Patrick's Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large number of drunk drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous.

"Whether you are meeting a few friends at the local pub after work or attending the parade downtown, if you plan on drinking alcohol, never drive while impaired, and never let your friends drive if you think they are impaired," said Jennifer Davis RN, BSN, MPH, CEN, EMT-P, trauma program manager for Summa Akron City Hospital. "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

National Highway Traffic Administration statistics show that in 2009, there were 103 crash fatalities on St. Patrick's Day across the country. Out of that number, 47 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

Davis recommends the following easy steps for a safe St. Patrick's Day:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver, and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • Call a cab service to schedule a pick up before you go out.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

"Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk," Davis said. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving impaired can be really significant. Don't depend on dumb luck this St. Patrick's Day. Designate your sober driver before the party begins."

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there have been no traffic fatalities in Summit County so far this year. From January 1 to March 11, 2010, there was one fatality.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook a twww.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.