Every year Americans gather together on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by honoring their Irish ancestors and sharing a toast to the continued good health of their Irish friends.

They also tend to drink. A lot.

Not surprisingly police are abundantly aware of the tendency for people to consume vast amounts of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day and then get behind the wheel of their automobile and try to drive home. That is why they launch extra patrols and place DUI stops in communities across the country. State police increase patrols, local police increase patrols-in fact, every law enforcement agency in the country is on alert during the annual holiday, wary of impaired drivers, regardless of their nationality.

If you get stopped for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol you will face stiff penalties; fines and a possible revocation or suspension of your driving privileges. Some states require drivers to install an interlock device for six months or more following their first conviction for driving under the influence. These devices require to drive to submit and pass a breath-alyzer test before the engine of the car will start. They are expensive and the drivers incur all costs associated with them including monthly monitoring fees.

If you get stopped for DUI and convicted it is also likely a judge will order you to attend an online traffic school before you can drive again. If you fail to do this, or pay any of your fees, or meet any of your obligations the fines, fees and punishments just keep piling up.

So do yourself a favor if you plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, and arrange for a sober ride home. In some areas AAA will provide a free ride home for inebriated people and also arrange to tow their vehicle to their home as well. Most cities have some form of help to keep drunk drivers off the road, and for good reason. Drunk drivers are responsible for hundreds of traffic fatalities every year.

And nothing ruins a holiday more than a tragic accident.