Staying Safe on St. Patrick’s Day in Tampa Bay

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! To celebrate this festive Irish holiday, here are some fun statistics:

  • 51% of Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
  • To dye the Chicago River green, it takes 45 pounds of vegetable-based dye — the green color lasts for up to five hours
  • The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade, which takes place in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has a total route of only 98 feet
  • Worldwide, 13 million pints of Guinness, an Irish beer, are consumed on the holiday
  • There is a 70% increase in cabbage shipments during the week of St. Patrick’s Day

But the statistics on car crashes on St. Patrick’s Day aren’t as amusing:

  • Between 2010 and 2014, 266 people died in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day
  • 75% of fatal St. Patrick’s Day accidents involve a driver with a blood alcohol level that is two times above the legal limit
  • On St. Patrick’s Day, someone is killed in a car crash every 74 minutes

According to a recently released report from WalletHub, the St. Patrick’s Day statistics for Tampa are particularly unlucky. While the city is ranked 5th overall in the United States for its excellent St. Patrick’s day festivities, it also has the highest number of traffic fatalities.

For all cities, the high number of accidents is due to the fact that St. Patrick’s Day, once a religious holiday, has become a major drinking holiday in the United States. Along with Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, and Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day holds the somewhat dubious of honor of being one of the “drunkest holidays.” On St. Patrick’s Day, hundreds of people head to bars and parties, whether they have Irish ancestry or not, to enjoy Guinness, shots of whiskey, or anything dyed green!

St. Patrick’s Day is also a day for parades. Large cities, particularly those with significant Irish-American populations, like Boston, host lively parades with music, Irish dancing, and live entertainment. These parades bring people to the streets, either as pedestrians or drivers, and when combined with the day’s heavy drinking, these factors can contribute to a St. Patrick’s Day disaster.

However, St. Patrick’s Day can be both festive and safe. There is no leprechaun luck required — just preparation, awareness, and common sense.

  • Before heading to a party, bar, or parade, have a plan. Have someone in your group agree to be the designated driver, or arrange to stay at a nearby hotel or friend’s house. It’s also a good idea to have the number of a few local cab services on hand, or a ride-sharing app on your phone. Unfortunately, though, ride-sharing prices tend to rise on popular holidays, so have a backup plan.
  • Eat before you head out. To stay in the Irish spirit, enjoy a hearty dish with potatoes or meat, and finish it off with some soda bread. These meals are festive and filling, and will keep you from drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soda.
  • At parties or bar, keep your drink with you at all times. St. Patrick’s Day is sometimes filled with innocent shenanigans, but a drugged drink is no innocent or laughing
  • If you feel intoxicated, do not drive!
  • If you decide to walk to an event, rather than drive, be aware of reckless drivers. Always use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and wear bright clothing.
  • Even if you make good choices, remember that others did not — stay aware at all times!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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