Officials Urge Responsible Driving This St. Patrick’s Day

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Patrick’s Day comes in second as the holiday for the highest number of DWI arrests per hour. And the numbers tend to climb when the holiday falls on a weekend. Extra enforcements are out across the state looking for drunk drivers.

St. Patrick’s Day is marked in St. Paul with a festive parade.

“There is some drinking involved,” Paul Stotts with Leprechauns of Saint Paul said.

The tradition starts early for many.

“We’re partying and have been since early this morning, it’s St. Patrick’s Day,” reveler Pat McKenzie said.

And that’s why the Minnesota State Patrol warns people every year to plan a ride ahead of time and make the smart choice.

“People are just going to be out partying and celebrating and that’s all fine and dandy but make sure you have a way to get home,” Lt. Robert Zak said.

St. Patrick’s Day falls only second to Labor Day when it comes to the number of DWI arrests per hour, with 4.6. There were 189 arrests last year when the holiday was on a Thursday. The last time it was on a Saturday was in 2012 and there was nearly double the number with 346.

“Being arrested for DWI is embarrassing enough and the initial costs that come with it but being involved with a tragic event that takes somebody’s life of someone else or a friend or family is even far worse,” Zak said.

The Vulcan Krewe planned ahead.

“We’re all jumping on a 1932 fire truck called Laverne and we’ve got a designated driver that keeps us safe all day long,” Vulcanus Rex LXXX said.

Other revelers said they would call Uber, Lyft, a cab, would take public transportation or had a sober driver.

“My plan to get home is not. I am staying in a hotel room after the party and I will not be driving. That’s the smart thing to do,” Stotts said.

Metro Transit is offering free bus and light rail rides until 3 a.m.

More from Jennifer Mayerle
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