Officers remind drivers: Buzzed driving is drunk driving


Americans love to celebrate the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and this year March 17 falls on a Friday, which means even more opportunity to enjoy the holiday – one of the biggest drinking occasions of the year. What this means, however, is more drunk drivers on the roads.

Officers of the Bella Vista Police Department want to remind drivers that their luck will run out if they are caught driving while intoxicated. If your celebration plans include alcohol consumption, be sure to also plan for a sober driver. And remember: buzzed driving is drunk driving.

BVPD is joining law enforcement agencies throughout the state for the statewide St. Patrick’s Day DWI mobilization, starting March 17. Before taking in too many green beers, line up a sober designated driver or other plan to avoid having to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2020. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2016 to 2020 — one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020. In 2020 alone, 37 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18).

Expect to see increased enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day and through the following weekend, including DWI and safety checkpoints. Think twice before drinking then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. It could save your life, or the life of someone else. Call for a sober ride, designate a sober driver in advance, or just stay where you are until you are no longer impaired. The risk is not worth it.

If you have any questions about this enforcement, call the Police Department at 479-855-3771.