No excuse for drunken driving

Published 10:18 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day can be full of fun revelry, but when revelers take the party to the highways, that’s a problem for everybody.

This year marks the first time St. Patty’s Day has fallen on a Saturday since 2012, and so celebrations are expected to be even more fun and last even longer than usual. But the fun stops when someone decides to drive drunk.

There were 248 alcohol-related fatalities in Virginia last year, and that’s a completely unacceptable number. Drunken driving is entirely preventable, and it almost always ends in life-altering or life-ending tragedy.

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The Suffolk Police Department, as well as Virginia State Police and a number of other local law enforcement agencies, have warned drivers that they will be watching closely this weekend to catch drunken drivers before they cause a crash.

Getting caught is better than causing a crash, but those caught driving drunk face losing their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, jail time, attorneys’ fees, court costs and other consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average DUI conviction costs about $10,000.

With convenient options like Uber and Lyft added in recent years to the traditional solutions — designating a driver ahead of time, calling a taxi cab, staying at the hosts’ house or making a last-minute call to a friend or relative — there’s absolutely no excuse for drunken driving.

Drivers who choose to get behind the wheel intoxicated are making a conscious choice to put everyone’s lives at risk. Be smart this weekend — drink all the green beer you want, but have a sober ride home planned before the festivities begin.