St. Patrick’s Day is popular with Americans, even those who have not a drop if Irish in their blood. The day is an excuse to wear green, sip green beer, dig up some Sligo fiddle tunes and even nibble some corned beef and cabbage. It’s not the cabbage that causes trouble, though: it’s the beer. The holiday is infamous for drinking, and worse, drinking and driving.
This might be a good time to inform revelers that Ireland itself is not a hospitable place for drunk drivers. Unlike the US, with its comparatively high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08, Ireland prosecutes anyone with a level of .05 or more for impaired driving. The usual punishment is a 2-year driving ban and a fine of 1,500 Euros.
Americans sometimes see Ireland as a nation of enthusiastic drinkers, with their Guinness and their Irish whiskey. But getting hammered and driving is not a fitting tribute to the Irish. They know better – hence their strict laws – and you should too.
This St. Patrick’s Day, make a plan. Line up a designated driver beforehand, or leave the car keys at home and take a taxi to wherever you’re celebrating. And don’t let any of your friends drive drunk either.
This March 17th, do like the Irish and show your friends a good time. But leave the wheels at home.