Dear. St. Patrick: You Got Rid of Snakes. How About Drunk Drivers?
There’s a legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. It’s not hard to figure out how that story got started. Ireland doesn’t have any snakes; therefore, its patron saint and greatest hero must be responsible.
Thou Ireland is not bothered by snakes (or blessed by them, if you happen to be a fan of snakes), it is plagued by alcohol. The Irish drink more per capita than the average European –in fact, according to the WHO, only three countries drink more than Ireland. Another organization found that three quarters of the alcohol consumed within a year in Ireland was drunk as part of a binge drinking session.
While the United States does not have quite the same struggle with alcohol, it does have a problem with St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th is considered a day in which it’s all right to get drunk, and too many of those revelers end up driving and causing mayhem on the roads.
Of all the ways in which the Irish stand out – their fabled love of words and conversation, friendliness, passionate nature, loyalty, even love of potatoes – Americans have chosen to imitate the trait that causes Ireland the most problems. And they’ve made that choice into a problem that everyone on the road faces on St. Patrick’s Day.
If you don’t want to be anyone’s problem on March 17th, follow these rules:
- Designate a driver
- Be a designated driver
- Take a taxi, rideshare or public transit
- Arrange for a friend to pick you up
And of course, watch out for impaired drivers when on the road that day. The police will be doing that as well.
Oh, and if you find a prayer to St. Patrick that will get banish St. Patrick’s Day drunk drivers, by all means put it into action. If Ireland can do without snakes, we could probably manage without drunk drivers. But keep your taxi number handy just in case.