What are you planning to do for the Thanksgiving holiday? Are you going out of town? Are you hosting your family and friends? Have you planned to meet friends at a local bar for a few drinks on Thanksgiving Eve? Whatever your plans may be, you need to remember that police will be out in full force looking for drivers who have had too much to drink.
Why do the police assume that there will be more drunk drivers during the holidays? In a word — statistics.
Drinking and Driving During the Holiday Season
According to Scram Systems, the number of DUI offenses increases during the holiday season between Blackout Wednesday and January 2. Blackout Wednesday is the day before Thanksgiving Day, more commonly known as Thanksgiving Eve. Some studies show that Blackout Wednesday is a heavier drinking day in some areas than in others. This trend seems to be more common among college students and in larger urban areas. Therefore, Blackout Wednesday is the unofficial beginning of the DUI holiday season.
According to surveys, approximately 96 percent of the respondents admitted they knew someone who went to work hungover or went to work hungover themselves during the holidays. Twenty-two percent of respondents attending holiday work parties felt pressured to drink alcohol, and 16 percent of respondents admit to drinking more alcohol during the holidays than during other times of the year.
As a result, we see a 31 to 106 percent increase in drunk driving offense during the holiday season. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, DUI cases increase an average of 31 percent. As we approach Christmas Eve, the number of DUI cases increases by 48 percent. By New Year’s Eve, we see a 106 percent spike in drunk driving charges.
In addition to the increase in traffic offenses, we also see an increase in DUI crashes. It is estimated that you are two to three times more likely to be involved in a DUI crash during the holidays. Approximately 1,200 people will be killed, and 25,000 people will be injured this holiday season, according to some estimates.
With startling statistics like these, it is not surprising that law enforcement agencies around the country, including those in Pennsylvania, step up their DUI enforcement efforts during the winter holiday season.
What Do I Do If I Am Stopped for DUI in Pennsylvania During the Holidays?
If possible, try to remain calm. You need to pull over to a safe location, place your hands on the wheel, and wait for the officer to approach your vehicle and give you instructions. Listen very carefully to the officer’s instructions and try to follow those instructions exactly. You are not required to answer questions such as, “Have you been drinking?” or “Have you been at a bar?” The officer is going to conduct the stop and move forward regardless of whether you answer the questions.
The officer may want to conduct field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer, or blood tests. While you can refuse these tests, your refusal comes with a price. Our website provides detailed information about what happens during a DUI stop and after you are arrested. We urge you to use the information on our website about DUI charges and call our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Call a Trusted Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
Being arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania is a serious matter. Do not make matters worse by not seeking experienced legal counsel as quickly as possible.
Call The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Erie DUI attorneys. For your convenience, we have offices in Erie, Edinboro, and Warren.