Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

March 15, 2013

Letter to the Editor: March 15, 2013

Celebrate responsibly this St. Patrick’s Day

For many Americans, March represents the beginning of spring, competitive basketball tournaments and St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrating the patron saint of Ireland with the belief that everyone is Irish on March 17 has opened the door to several festive traditions in the U.S. The holiday is widely celebrated with tributes to Irish culture, displays of green, parades and most commonly, heavy drinking.

During the month of March in 2012, there were 524 alcohol-related collisions in Indiana. Of these collisions, six fatalities were reported. On St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, 32 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents were connected to drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above.

Statistics illustrate that a celebration of a patron saint has now become a symbol for partying in the U.S. These trends have caught the concern and attention of law enforcement and responsible alcohol consumption and underage drinking prevention organizations, including Project RAD (Responsible Alcohol Distribution). In order to make a change, moderation and control must be highly encouraged and promoted during St. Patrick’s Day events.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is currently working with 250 state and local law enforcement agencies on a high-visibility crackdown on impaired and dangerous driving known as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The joint forces are deploying sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and other enforcement tactics to detect and remove impaired drivers from the roads.

 The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, a group composed of liquor store owners and a Project RAD partner, applauds law enforcement for its efforts in curbing underage drinking and excessive drinking and driving. This year, we have asked our members to arm their customers with facts and figures about the dangers associated with binge drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. As small business owners, our members are part of the community, and they want to ensure safe streets and highways this weekend.

Choose to drink responsibly so that you can be around for next year’s celebration, too!

John Livengood,  President/CEO, Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers

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