With St. Patrick’s Day rapidly approaching, the Georgia State Patrol is urging party hosts to plan celebrations carefully and keep safety as a top priority.  If alcohol will be served at your celebration, the message from troopers is clear:  designate a sober driver before the party begins.
   Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said national traffic crash data shows that over the past five years, 851 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. March 16 and 7 a.m. on March 18.  Out of that number, 327 were killed in crashes that involved an alcohol impaired driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
   “Planning can prevent alcohol related traffic deaths,” Colonel Hitchens said.  “Party hosts can greatly aid in the effort to reduce the number of drunk drivers on our state’s highways, and it all begins with planning your event carefully.”
   State Troopers urge party hosts to make sure all guests designate their sober drivers in advance; serve lots of food and plan for plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at the party; and keep the numbers for local cab companies handy.  “Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired,” Colonel Hitchens said.
   The Georgia State Patrol urges everyone who will be attending a St. Patrick’s Day party and consuming alcohol to designate a sober driver before the party begins.  Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast, but rather pace yourself by eating enough food, taking breaks, and alternating with non-alcoholic drinks.