Cedar Rapids police: Designate a driver for St. Patrick's Day - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids police: Designate a driver for St. Patrick's Day

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

As St. Patrick's Day approaches, the Cedar Rapids Police Department reminds drivers not to get behind the wheel if they've been drinking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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 the St. Patrick's Day Parade, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely, or contact your local sober ride program for a safe ride home," said Chief Wayne Jerman.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department will have extra patrol officers working the street on St. Patrick's Day, with their primary purpose being finding drunk or buzzed drivers and traffic enforcement.

A grant from the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau will fund officers throughout the year to hire back officers specifically for enforcement. St. Patrick's Day is just one of the selected days for grant enforcement.

According to NHTSA, on average, every 51 minutes a person is killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States. The majority of these crashes involve drunk drivers who have blood alcohol concentrations of .15 grams per deciliter or higher, almost twice the legal limit of .08 g/dL.

To prevent these tragedies from occurring, Cedar Rapids Police recommends the following steps to have a safe and happy 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 to get home safely.

 * If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.

 * If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

For more information visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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