Green beer — any beer — usually is popular with many people celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
That’s why law enforcement agencies and state traffic safety officials urge celebrants to be careful when it comes to drinking.
“Everybody needs to remember that it’s a holiday and we want everybody to have a good time but to have a good time responsibly,” Lawrence police Sgt. Bill Cory said.
Cory urged groups going to bars or private parties to have designated drivers who stay sober.
Kansas law provides for jail time as well as fines for people convicted of drunken driving, noted Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation.
“Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun, but it can also take a serious and tragic turn,” Miller said.
Nationally, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that over the past five years, 851 people died in motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day. Of those fatalities, 327 were killed in crashes that involved a drunken driver with blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent or higher.
Drunken driving claimed 118 lives in Kansas in 2007 and 1,150 lives in the decade 1997 to 2007.
During Tuesday’s 1 p.m. parade downtown, Lawrence police will work with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee on crowd control and keeping the intersections to Massachusetts Street covered, Cory said.