‘Luck of the Irish’ won’t save drunk drivers from DUIs

The Illinois State Police and local law enforcement are conducting roadside safety checks through March 18.

Even the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow won't keep impaired drivers from a DUI. The Illinois State Police and local law enforcement are conducting roadside safety checks through Friday, March 18, 2022.

If your St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes alcohol or cannabis, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement said in a news release from the state of Illinois that you should “plan ahead for a sober ride home.”

“You won’t even need a four-leafed-clover if you’re making good choices by either staying home or designating a sober driver,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said in the release.

The Illinois State Police and local law enforcement will conduct “roadside safety checks, seat belt zones and patrols to enforce DUI, seat belt, speeding, distracted driving and other traffic laws,” according to the release.

“If you’re tipping a pot of golden beer hoping the luck of the Irish will save you from getting a DUI, you’re sadly mistaken,” Kelly said in the release.

Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of safety programs and engineering, said in the release that people make their own luck by planning for a sober return home long before the celebration begins.

“Too many people wait until after they’ve become impaired to figure out how they’ll get home,” Watters said in the release. “But by then it’s too late to make a coherent decision.”

The release offered these tips:

Party hosts:

• If someone you serve is involved in an impaired driving crash, you can be held liable and prosecuted.

• Be sure guests designate their sober drivers in advance. If they don’t, arrange ride sharing with other sober drivers.

• Just in case, keep information on ride-sharing services handy.

• Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

• Take keys away from anyone who is even thinking of driving while impaired.

Party attendees:

• Designate your sober driver before the party begins.

• Give the designated driver your car keys.

• If you become impaired: Ask a sober friend or family member for a ride, call a cab, take public transportation, use a ride-sharing service or stay put until you are sober.

• Your friends are impaired? Don’t let them out of your sight, especially if they want to drive.

• Defend yourself against impaired drivers: always buckle up.