It’s safe to assume that if you’re on the roads on St. Patrick’s Day, you need to be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Regular drinkers and “amateurs” alike often get caught up in the festivities at their local bar or restaurant and overdo it — whether on green beer or something really Irish, like Guinness or Jameson Irish Whiskey. Unfortunately, some of them then get behind the wheel.
Things like where you live and what day of the week St. Patrick’s Day falls on can affect your chances of being involved in a crash with a drunk driver. A study by the personal finance site ValuePenguin looked at St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving fatalities between 2008 and 2017, using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The data included crashes through 6:00 the morning of March 18.
The study ranked the most dangerous cities and states. Baton Rouge came in 10th among large cities (with populations over 100,000). We had two St. Patrick’s Day DUI fatalities in the years studied. We came in 79th among all cities combined. (Only cities of 10,000 people or under were not counted.) Louisiana was ranked 5th among all states, with 10 DUI fatalities.
Not surprisingly, there was a considerable spike in crashes when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday, with an average of 79 deaths. Sunday had the second highest, with 39, followed closely by Friday, with 38. Interestingly, Tuesday (which is what the holiday falls on this year) had the lowest number, at 22.5. Overall, the study found 360 traffic fatalities where a driver was determined to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit.
Of course, a DUI-related crash can happen anywhere, on any day. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver, that driver will likely face criminal charges. However, you also have the right to hold them liable in civil court to seek compensation for medical expenses and other costs and damages.