14 Who Got the St. Patrick’s Day DUI Message – And 1 Who Didn’t

st-patricks-day-dui-hatThey were warned. Public service messages were all over social media. And the campaigns have been going on for years, so there was nothing new about the message: drive sober and avoid a St. Patrick’s Day DUI. But some people will not heed. As a result, they are facing some bleak times.

The police of Warwick, Rhode Island decided to give their citizens every possible chance. The force organized a “free ride home” program for St. Patrick’s Day. Anyone who’d had too much to drink could call a phone number and be chauffeured home, no questions asked.

14 people took advantage of the service. As a result, there was only one arrest for drunk driving that night. That’s down from five last year.

The Warwick Police have been offering the St. Patrick’s Day Free Ride for three years now, and it’s been judged a success and worth keeping. If there’s a problem, it’s that there are plenty of other holidays known for drunk driving: Labor Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day are well-known for keeping DUI patrols busy.

And of course, impaired drivers are arrested every night of the week, and sometimes in the daytime too. Without a 365-day free ride program, we can expect drunk driving to continue, and the need for organizations like the Rhode Island DUI Task Force, and measures like ignition interlocks to continue as well.

The alternative would be for people to get the message, finally, that drunk driving is a bad idea. Maybe next year…