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Special Enforcement Effort Planned For St. Pat’s Weekend

By Staff | Mar 15, 2016

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office and Emmetsburg Police Department, along with other Law Enforcement agencies around the state want to remind everyone to be safe this St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the roadways. That’s why the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, the Emmetsburg Police Department and the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office are joining together to warn everyone against drinking and driving this St. Patrick’s Day.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014, 28-percent of all crash fatalities during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk drivers, and that number rose to nearly half in the post-party hours of midnight 6:00 a.m., of March 18, 2014.

Pedestrians walking while intoxicated are also at risk as lack of attention risks getting hit by a vehicle. In 2014, 35-percent of the pedestrians killed in crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

There is some good news, however. The number of fatalities over this holiday period decreased nationally from 32 in 2013 to 29 in 2014.

Likewise, the number of fatalities involving drunk drivers declined from more than one-third to one-fourth. The bad news is that every one of those deaths could have been prevented.

Don’t let your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations end in tragedy. The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau along with the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, encourages Iowans to plan ahead by identifying a designated driver or utilize another form of safe transportation if you choose to drink this St. Patrick’s Day.

The relatively small fee for a safe ride home is much cheaper than the thousands of dollars it will cost for a drunk driving arrest.

“Let’s make this St. Patrick’s Day safer this year! Extra law enforcement officers will be on the roads March 16 19, 2016, in Palo Alto County to keep Iowa motorists safe,” noted Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes.

“Whether you’re buzzed or drunk, it doesn’t matter. Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving drive sober and remember to buckle up!” added Sergeant Ryan Veldboom of the Emmetsburg Police Department