St. Patrick’s Day revelers are being urged to catch a sober ride with a designated driver, bus or taxi to avoid a drunk driving arrest as the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office teams with 25 other counties to combat drunk driving through April 7th. Deputies and other law enforcement officers are conducting extra patrols to arrest impaired drivers during a time period that includes the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, high school and college spring break periods and St. Patrick’s Day. A five-year review of crash data by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning indicates both alcohol use and lack of seat belt use play a significant role in fatal and serious injury crashes in March and early April. The OHSP is coordinating the effort, which is supported by federal traffic safety funds. “If you decide to drink alcohol, make sure you use a designated driver,” said St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon. “A DUI costs a lot of green. Make a smart choice and catch a sober ride home, by using the bus system, a taxi or a designated driver.” In 2013, 2,271 people were arrested in Michigan for drunk driving during the NCAA tournament time period. Of those, 671 were arrested under the state’s high blood-alcohol content law with BAC’s of .17 or higher. More than 500 of those arrests were made by grant-funded law enforcement agencies during last year’s drunk driving crackdown. Extra patrols are planned in St. Clair County by the Sheriff’s Office and Port Huron, Marysville and St. Clair Police Departments. In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher.