MURRAY – With St. Patrick’s day this weekend, AAA East Central and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) are asking potential partygoers to plan ahead when traveling over the weekend. 

In a press release from both organizations, it was said that while both organizations want people to enjoy the holiday, it should be done with safety in mind. 

“Not only can a DUI result in devastating crashes, but a conviction can weigh heavily on your pocketbook,” says Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central in the release. “Alcohol and driving should never mix, and simple steps taken before a celebration can go a long way towards keeping you and everyone around you safe.”  

According to KOHS, statistics show that drinking and driving continues to be a prevailing problem across the commonwealth. The release said that preliminary figures from 2018 show that there were 87 alcohol-related deaths throughout the year. 

“Drunken driving-related crashes are 100 percent preventable and our goal is to have zero,” said Jason Siwula, acting executive director of KOHS in the release. “All we ask is that drivers be responsible and make a plan for a sober ride home. No matter what you choose – a sober friend, taxi service or ride-booking company – we want you to arrive to your destination safely.”

Locally, both the Murray Police Department and Calloway County Sheriff’s Office will be as vigilant as always for those driving under the influence. 

“We will have enforcement out like we do every weekend,” said Sgt. Brant Shutt with MPD. “We are always keeping track of our local establishments and trying our best to keep DUIs off the roadways. Any time you are going to go out and know you are going to be drinking at all, always have that designated driver or take advantage of our local taxis or transit.”

Sheriff Sam Steger said deputies with CCSO will also be on patrol over the weekend and encouraged potential revelers to always give someone a call if they need a ride.

“We have some federal overtime for traffic that some of the guys are working this weekend,” Steger said. “We have plenty of cab services in town, and everybody has a friend that can help them get home. So don’t make that mistake of getting behind the wheel. There is always that person you can call and leave your car to get home safely.”

The release offered the following tips for having a safe a responsible holiday weekend: 

• Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night. Some options include: designate a driver; take a cab, or a ride share; utilize local public transit.

• Rent a hotel room or stay overnight where you are.

• If hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers. If possible, provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking.

• Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

• Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• If you suspect a driver is under the influence, stay as far behind their vehicle as possible, and as soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 911. 

Shutt reminded drivers that a taxi or utilizing other transit options is much cheaper than a DUI charge.

“There are plenty of people that can give you a ride that would be free or cheaper than having to pay for a DUI charge,” he said. 

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