Stay sober behind the wheel and you won’t have to worry

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. A time for Irish fun and fare.

Unfortunately it’s also a time when those who have been drinking decide to get behind the wheel.

With that in mind, local law enforcement will be out in full force this weekend looking for drivers who have had a little too much St. Patty’s Day fun.

The Kitsap County and Mason County Traffic Safety Task Forces are uniting to conduct emphasis patrols this weekend. Equipped with extra patrols, each task force will be looking for impaired drivers as well as those speeding and driving aggressively.

The extra patrols are part of the X-52 Sustained Enforcement campaign partially funded by the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, according to the Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force.

We hope all St. Patrick’s Day partygoers will make the right decision and abstain from alcohol if they’re going to get behind the wheel. If the fact that drunk driving is a major killer isn’t enough of a deterrent to make drivers think twice about grabbing those keys after downing multiple cocktails, hopefully the thought of extra cops on the roads will stop people from making a potentially deadly decision to drink and drive.

St. Patty’s Day emphasis patrols have proven to be successful, but impaired driving continues to be a problem. Last year, the Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force made 198 contacts, resulting in eight DUIs and 64 speeding violations. Seven other alcohol-related arrests also were made.

With many watchful eyes out across the county, drivers shouldn’t count on the luck of the Irish this weekend. Agencies with extra patrols in Kitsap County include the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Port Orchard, Suquamish and Bainbridge Island police departments and the Washington State Patrol.

We urge everyone who plans to get in on the festivities this weekend to designate a driver before the party gets started. Make this a St. Patrick’s Day to remember, but not because it was the day you drank too much and injured or killed someone on your way home.