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St. Patrick's Day revelries inspire safe driving campaigns
From 2009 to 2013, a total of 276 lives were lost in alcohol-related car crashes on St. Patrick's Day. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
St. Patrick's Day is associated with many activities in the American imagination: Pinching people who don't wear green, dying the Chicago River and drinking to excess, to name a few.

The holiday's link to bar crawls and green beer is cause for concern in many communities. March 17 is the fourth most popular drinking holiday in the U.S., behind New Year's Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July, according to WalletHub.

This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration teamed up with Traffic Safety Marketing to provide a variety of posters and other marketing tools that promote safe driving.

"For too many Americans, St. Patrick's Day has ended in tragedy due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel," the campaign website notes. "Over St. Patrick's Day from 2009 to 2013, there were a total of 276 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes."

According to the WalletHub's research, 75 percent of fatal car crashes on St. Patrick's Day involve a driver with two times the legal level of alcohol in his or her system. Alcohol-related car crashes on this day occur every 46 minutes.

WalletHub's infographic also notes that the average reveler spends $36.50 on St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Many safety campaigns urge partygoers to spend just a few more dollars on a safe ride home.

For example, in New Jersey, the car service Uber has teamed up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage safe celebrations. From Saturday, March 14, until Tuesday's holiday, Uber will donate $1 to MADD for every ride it provides in New Jersey, reported.

"With St. Patrick's Day celebrations across the state, MADD wants adults to enjoy celebrating the holiday, while planning ahead for how they'll get home safely if their plans include alcohol. The use of public transit, or ride sharing services like Uber, are an excellent way for people to do just that," Brandon English, MADD New Jersey Program Director, told the Uber blog.

In spite of widespread drunk driving campaigns, many families still feel safest celebrating at home with family and friends. And they're in luck, because several food and lifestyle blogs are sharing lists of St. Patrick's Day-inspired activities.

The Food Network shared "Seeing Green: How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy's Day Party" and compiled recipes for mini reuben sandwiches and mint milkshakes.

And at the site Family Education, creative parents can find a variety of games and activities, like a treasure hunt for a pot of gold.