SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — St. Patrick’s Day marks a busy day for businesses across the Ozarks and with the second day of the first round of the NCAA tournament beginning later today, many people will be out and enjoying the festivities.

St. Patrick’s Day is often recognized as one of the busiest drinking days of the year and that means the possibility of more drunk drivers on the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association urges drivers to be extra cautious during the internationally celebrated weekend.

According to NHTSA, from 2016 to 2020, 287 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day period. They warn drivers that buzzed driving is still drunk driving. 

Law enforcement across southwest Missouri will be out monitoring the roads and looking for drunk drivers.

According to the NHTSA walking home from a bar or restaurant or even a house party can be deadly.

In 2020, 30% of the pedestrians killed in traffic crashes had blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08, the legal limit in Missouri.

According to multiple law enforcement agencies, the safest thing to do would be to arrange a sober ride home.

They recommend if you do plan on taking a Lyft or an Uber home, make sure the name of the driver, license plate and model of the car matches up with the information you have on your app.