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PUBLIC SAFETY | St. Patrick’s Day: Be smart, don’t rely on luck

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, finding a designated driver isn’t luck, it’s smart.

Make sure you and your friends get home safely.

The Kitsap County “Target Zero” traffic safety task force is reminding drivers not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking. Extra patrols will be on-going during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, March 15-17, where local law enforcement agencies will be  actively looking for impaired drivers.

“Whether you’re gathering with friends at a local bar, or a private party, if alcohol is part  of the festivities, following a simple plan will save you a lot of headaches,” said Marsha  Masters, Kitsap County Target Zero manager.

A DUI arrest is not the worst that can  happen, you could be charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular assault if someone is killed or injured while you were driving impaired.

On March 17, 1991, Steven Lennon and his two passengers were returning home from roller-skating when an impaired driver, traveling the wrong way on State Highway 16, struck them head-on. His two friends were severely injured. Steven was killed.

Steven was an 18-year-old Eagle Scout, an exchange student to Germany, and a Boy  Scout counselor at Camp Parsons. His acceptance letter to the University of Puget  Sound arrived the day after he was killed. He was never to become what he dreamed  of doing.

The upcoming St. Patrick’s Day weekend emphasis patrols are dedicated to the memory of Steven Lennon.

“His sister and I have missed him every day for 22 years,” said Loie Lennon, Steven’s mother.

Washington State has a plan to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries to zero by the year 2030 through a variety of strategies, including education, engineering,  emergency medical services and traffic enforcement.

One person is killed every 53 minutes in an impaired-driving crash in this country, the majority of these crashes involve drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, twice the 08 limit.

To prevent these tragedies from occurring, the “Target Zero” task force recommends

the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend:

• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at

home.

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member.

• If you see an impaired driver, call 911.

• And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get safely to their destination.

For more information, visit the Washington Traffic Safety Commission website at: www.wtsc.wa.gov.

 

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