California drivers on the road at night on St. Patrick’s Day are 19 percent more likely to be killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash than they are on other days, according to crash data analyzed by the Automobile Club of Southern California. With drinking and driving crashes generally on the rise in the state and nation since the late 1990s, the Auto Club is warning that this St. Patrick’s Day could prove to be a dangerous one. “This analysis shows once again that drivers and their passengers are at a higher risk for being involved in alcohol-related crashes on holidays and special occasions,” said Steven Bloch, the Auto Club’s senior researcher. “We have observed the same problem of higher DUI crash rates on major holidays such as July 4 and New Year’s Eve, and on special occasions such as the Super Bowl,” he added. The Auto Club analyzed California Highway Patrol data on alcohol-related traffic injuries and deaths from 2000 through 2005. Compared to the same non-holiday days of the week each year for four weeks before and four weeks after March 17 (excluding President’s Day weekend), the number of people killed and injured over St. Patrick’s Day between 5 p.m., March 17, and 5 a.m., March 18, increased 19 percent statewide. The analysis did not find an increase in daytime crash deaths and injuries on St. Patrick’s Day compared with other similar days. The Auto Club periodically analyzes alcohol-related data for holidays to increase awareness among motorists of the need to avoid drinking and driving. “People who are celebrating are sometimes less cautious and risk driving after drinking,” Bloch said. “We want to remind motorists that just because it’s a holiday or special occasion, it doesn’t mean drinking and driving is OK. “In fact, drivers need to realize that many holidays and special occasions are more dangerous for motorists than other days.” To help keep drivers and passengers safe on St. Patrick’s Day, the Auto Club recommends these tips: – Don’t drink and drive. – Use a designated driver if you’re attending a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. – Call a friend or family member or a taxi for a ride if you’ve been drinking. – If hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, be responsible. Take car keys from partygoers as they arrive and don’t let them drive drunk. Serve non-alcoholic drinks and encourage each group to have a designated driver. Serve protein-rich and starchy foods to slow alcohol absorption. – If you observe an erratic driver while on the road, try to stay behind his or her vehicle and out of harm’s way. If it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 9-1-1 or alert local police, providing a detailed description of the vehicle and its location. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!