BOISE – With the arrival of college basketball’s March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day, many Americans are looking forward to a break from the stress of everyday life.  AAA reminds drivers to celebrate responsibly and avoid becoming buzzed or tipsy behind the wheel.

“St. Patrick’s and the tournament both kick off on the same day, so there will be plenty of reasons to relax with family and friends starting on Thursday,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “But it’s also important to have a good game plan to get home safely – especially if you or someone you love overindulges.”

In 2019, impaired driving killed more that 10,000 people nationwide, including 57 on St. Patrick’s Day alone.

In 2020, 92 Idahoans died in crashes involving an impaired driver – or one every four days, representing nearly half of all crash deaths on Gem State roads that year.

“During the pandemic, people have found different ways to cope with difficult circumstances.  Some may have relied on the overuse of alcohol and other substances that can affect their ability to safely operate a vehicle,” Conde said.  “Please be a good friend and help find a better solution if someone is about to drive impaired.”

If you’ve had too much to drink, please turn over the driving to a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft or pass the keys to a designated driver.

“With so many partygoers expected to be out and about on Thursday and throughout the weekend, preventing impaired driving is only part of the equation,” Conde said.  “Please put down your phone and actively scan the road for other cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists.  Avoid speeding and aggressive driving to give yourself more time to safely maneuver, and of course, always wear your seat belt.”