Our Opinion: St. Patrick's saturation spells trouble for impaired drivers

St. Patrick’s Day brings the wearin’ o’ the green, corned beef and cabbage, and DWI saturation patrols.

State and municipal law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on driving while intoxicated this weekend.

The Missouri Highway Patrol points out that impaired driving contributes to nearly 30 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Missouri.

During 2011, the statistics included 220 fatalities and 916 serious injuries in wrecks involving an impaired driver.

The weekend crackdown will include both sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Why take a chance?

Drunk drivers who are lucky enough to avoid death or injury in a crash still face serious consequences.

A patrol news release describes other consequences, including incarceration, loss of driving privileges or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks, insurance rate increases, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work and potential of loss of a job or job prospects.

The patrol adds: “When family, friends, and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.”

Those are hefty prices to pay for quaffing too much green beer, particularly when the alternatives are simple and readily available.

In addition to designating a driver, the Jefferson City Police Department reminds revelers they can ask drinking establishments to contact Sober Driver at 636-7102 in Jefferson City.

Sober Driver provides free rides to people who are impaired or are riding with an impaired driver.

Impaired drivers are likely to be caught. And the consequences range from bad to tragic.

In contrast, sober drivers avoid those risks and consequences.

As choices go, this one is crystal clear.

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