TRENTON – As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is reminding drivers and pedestrians to take precautions to ensure their holiday celebrations do not end in tragedy.
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said drivers should not drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Throughout 2011, 152 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in New Jersey. From 2007 to 2011, more than 600 people, including drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians, were killed in motor vehicle crashes where alcohol was a factor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2006 to 2010.
“Whether you are gathering with friends at the local pub or attending a parade, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely,” Poedubicky said. “You’ll not only be ensuring your safety, but the safety of everyone else who is sharing the road with you.”
Poedubicky said pedestrian safety was of particular concern to the Division this weekend. With many people planning to attend St. Patrick’s Day parades, foot traffic will be increased at many intersections throughout the State. Poedubicky said motorists should be alert to pedestrians year-round and particularly on days when celebrations are taking place and people have been drinking. Last year, 164 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes – the highest total since 2006.
Poedubicky said pedestrians share responsibility for safety on the road. Pedestrians should only cross at intersections and never cross between parked cars. If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, he said, the safest way to get home is to have a cab or sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.
Individuals attending a St. Patrick’s Day celebration are also reminded to:
- Use mass transit, a cab or car service to get to and from their destination.
- Immediately report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
- Never let a friend drive drunk. If you know someone is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and arrange for a ride home.
- Buckle-up, every ride.
Additional information on drunk driving prevention and enforcement programs is available on the Divison’s website at www.NJSafeRoads.com