March 6, 2024

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) is partnering with law enforcement across Iowa March 13-21 to remind drivers: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States extend as far back as the American colonial period. Today, it’s one of our nation’s most popular holidays, celebrated with festivals, parades, and parties. These celebrations frequently feature themed cocktails and green pints, and the amount of alcohol consumed is higher than average. People are more likely to make poor decisions as a result, including driving while intoxicated.

Because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday, we anticipate alcohol consumption will increase throughout the weekend. We ask everyone to celebrate responsibly. Last March, there were 26 traffic fatalities on Iowa roads. Almost 40% of those occurred the week of St. Patrick’s Day (March 11-19, 2023).

GTSB also reminds drivers to watch for pedestrians. An increase in alcohol consumption and pedestrian traffic can be a dangerous combination. If you’re on foot, cross streets in well-lit areas and use the crosswalks.

GTSB Bureau Chief Brett Tjepkes says, “Don’t turn a day of fun into a tragic and devastating time by driving while intoxicated. It’s vital people plan ahead. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make a smart decision, you might not. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a rideshare service. Our law enforcement partners will be looking for impaired drivers.”

If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give the keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, take away their keys and help them get home safely.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau works with city, county, state, and local organizations to develop and implement strategies to reduce deaths and injuries on Iowa’s roadways using federally funded grants.

Access St. Patrick’s Day Traffic Safety Graphics.

Source: Iowa Crash Analysis Tool, National Highway Traffic Safety Association


The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes seven divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state, and federal government agencies and the private sector to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service, and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, Professional Development and Support Services Division, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.

Iowa Department of Public Safety

215 E. 7th St.

Des Moines, IA 50319