Be safe on St. Patrick’s Day

It’s time for the wearin’ o’ the green and the drinkin’ o’ the green beer and other such intoxicating beverages.

Whether we’re really Irish or not, many of us will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with family and friends this weekend, or on the actual holiday Monday.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular holiday to celebrate with friends and family. However, due to impaired drivers, it has also become a very dangerous time on Ohio’s roadways. Last year, no one was killed in a traffic crash in Ohio on St. Patrick’s Day. According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, this is the first time this has occurred in at least five years. During this 24-hour period last year the Patrol made 142 OVI arrests.

This year the patrol will be out in full force, and troopers are warning drinkers “Don’t press your luck designate a sober driver.”

More than 99 local law enforcement agencies around the state will be beefing up enforcement activity and sobriety checkpoints. The Patrol will be working with local law enforcement to remove impaired drivers as part of the National Highway Safety Administration’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign.

For bars and permit holders, over-serving or serving underage customers could also mean costly fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor permit.

If you’re looking for more family-oriented entertainment for the holiday, check out the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade in East Palestine at 4 p.m. today.

Organized by members of the Minerd family, who hope to make the parade an annual tradition, the event will feature authentic Irish musicians and dancers from Cleveland and a bagpiper from Youngstown. The route will begin at the corner of Main and Market streets and continue down Market to Taggart Street.

If Saturday won’t work for you, you can attend the Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday in Boardman.

Whether or not your celebrations include alcoholic indulgences, be sure to have a safe and happy holiday weekend.