Editorial: The culture with drinking must change viewpoints

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day is coming this weekend, and Minnesota drivers haven’t done a good job of staying safe while on public roads.

In the last five years, there have been 11 traffic deaths on St. Patty’s weekends, with at least two involving an impaired driver, according to Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Does it have something to do with the exuburance of spring, what with St. Patrick’s Day often becoming the first holiday to fall after temperatures climb above freezing?

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Perhaps a little, but we don’t think that’s the main problem. We believe it has to do with the continuing culture of forgiveness that surrounds the state of being drunken. Minnesotans needs to realize people are responsible for their actions even when they are drunk.

Whether it is being loud-mouthed and obnoxious in a bar or getting behind the wheel of an automobile, no more should it be acceptable to say: “Oh, he was drunk. It’s OK.”

It’s not OK. Each year, alcohol-related crashes account for one-third of the state’s traffic deaths. Minnesota has had 651 drunken driving deaths in the last five years. One in seven drivers in our state has a DWI on their record.

The culture must change. Drinking and driving is not OK. Be accountable for your actions, whether you are drunk or stone-cold sober. Don’t be a statistic.

Let’s make this St. Patrick’s Day weekend a safe, happy and festive one.