Drinking for St. Patrick’s Day? Sure, as long as you’re not driving

The Mahoning County OVI Task Force will have sobriety checkpoints set up Friday

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CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular drinking days of the year. It’s also a day when car accidents spike from people driving drunk. Police have a simple message to cut down on the problem: don’t drink and drive.

The corned beef, green beer, and partying are fine as long as you’re responsible.

“One fatality in a traffic crash is one too many,” said Scott Weamer, with the Mahoning County OVI Task Force.

The Task Force will have sobriety checkpoints set up somewhere in the county Friday.

“I would rather go out and have a checkpoint and not arrest a single person that’s impaired, and have a whole fleet of Uber drivers coming through. That would tell me that we’re being successful,” Weamer said. “It’s not about arresting people, it’s about keeping the roads safe.”

Checkpoint locations will be announced Friday. The checkpoints are often set up in specific areas that are known trouble spots based on years of data.

If you are going to be drinking, there are multiple ways to still be responsible and safe.

“Designated drivers, taxis, Uber,” Weamer said. “Uber is fantastic. It’s cheap and easy, it’s an app on your smartphone. It’s a great option to be able to go out and celebrate and have a good time.”

April Martin, with Fab Cab, expects lots of people dressed in green getting into her van tomorrow.

“When we go through those checkpoints, they are always sticking their head in and telling them, ‘Good guy,'” she said.

Weamer said there has not been a specific trend with drunk driving-related crashes, deaths, and arrests over the last few years.

A grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is helping to pay for the increased patrols.

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