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Dangers of drunk driving magnified during St. Patrick's Day celebrations

This weekend thousands of Myrtle Beach residents will celebrate St. Patrick's Day and many more will take part in Irish-themed festivities on Tuesday. When it comes to St. Patrick's Day, everyone becomes Irish and dons their best green attire. For many people who commemorate the holiday, alcohol plays a major role in their celebration.

By now, everyone knows not to drink to and drive. It's illegal to operate a motor vehicle after drinking and individuals who choose to do so many not only face DUI charges, but could also potentially cause or be involved in a motor vehicle accident in which others are injured or killed. Holidays, like St. Patrick's Day, during which alcohol plays a major role, pose special dangers for South Carolina drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Recently, the nonprofit advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving named South Carolina as the most dangerous state for drunk driving. While the state has made efforts to crack down on the dangerous practice, during 2013, 44 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the state were attributed to drunk driving. When compared against the national average of 31 percent, it's clear that much more needs to be done to educate, discourage and punish individuals who choose to drive while impaired.

The problem is that people may drink a couple of beers or drinks and wrongly assume they are still fine to drive. This err in judgment can have dire consequences. Simply put, it's not safe to drive after ingesting any amount of alcohol. Individuals who plan to take part in this year's St. Patrick's Day revelries would be wise to plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a cab.

Source: WTOC-TV, "MADD: SC worst in the nation for drunk driving," Feb. 6, 2015

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