Officials urging safe, responsible celebrating for St. Patrick’s weekend

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which is a weekend-long celebration for many, but it’s also known as a heavy drinking holiday for those who partake in the festivities.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 2:56 PM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which is a big day and weekend-long celebration for many, but it’s also known as a heavy drinking holiday for those who partake in the festivities.

“If you’re going to be out enjoying, celebrating, make sure if you’re going to be out having drinks that you have a designated driver. Be mindful of what you’re consuming, don’t let drinks unattended, and keep an eye on your friends. That’s one thing I would really focus on is making sure you’re keeping an eye on the people you’re out with and make sure everybody is celebrating in moderation,” said West Springfield Fire Lt. Tony Spear.

Spear urged people to enjoy the holiday responsibly. He shared advice for any of those partaking in the festivities that are expected to continue through the weekend.

“St. Patrick’s Day, mostly, will be celebrated locally in Holyoke, so a lot of the incidents you might see would be around the parade or the road race. Those are days with a longer duration event and when you’re going to these events, you want to make sure everybody stays hydrated, food in the belly, and taking their time with everything,” Spear explained.

AAA Northeast spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told Western Mass News with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday falling on a Friday this year, it raises more concerns for potential drunk driving accidents.

“St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest dates for our nation’s roadways, so just to put it in perspective, from 2016 to 2020 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., there were 287 lives lost in drunk driving crashes and every one of those crashes was preventable,” Schieldrop explained.

He told us taking a few small steps before you head out can help make sure everyone has a fun, but safe, time.

“Think ahead, plan ahead, plan your night, so you can celebrate without having to drive drunk and use the options that are out there…Nobody is forcing anybody to drive drunk. You can designate a sober driver, use a taxi, take an Uber or Lyft or use a rideshare service,” Schieldrop noted.

Schieldrop wanted to also remind people if they see anyone who has been drinking heavily and are about to drive, take responsibility by helping them find a different ride home or taking away their keys if needed.