GPD working to keep roadways safe on St. Patrick’s Day

Police warn to celebrate responsibly: buzzed driving is drunk driving

By Sgt. Mark Thompson

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by millions across the country, often culminating in parties where drinking is involved. Sadly, this leads to tragedies on our roadways because of drivers who choose to leave parties impaired.

This St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, the Gardena Police Department will have additional officers on patrol from 8 p.m., ready to stop and arrest drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) shows that one person was killed and 48 others were injured in DUI crashes on St. Patrick’s Day last year. In 2017, 59 people were killed nationwide in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday (March 16-18), accounting for 37 percent of all traffic deaths.

Due to St. Patrick’s Day becoming a dangerous holiday on our roads, the Gardena Police Department encourages everyone to plan ahead and use a designated sober driver, ride-share or public transportation. Even one drink can be one too many.

“Don’t even put yourself in a position where you need to ask whether you are okay to drive,” Gardena Police Department Chief Thomas Kang said. “If you feel the slightest hint of a buzz, you should not be driving.”

The Gardena Police Department also wants to remind everyone that a “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana can all be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

“We all know the dangers about driving impaired,” Gardena Police Department Lt. Steve Prendergast said. “Let’s all be responsible adults and help each other get where we need to go safely.”