SOBERING FACTS ABOUT HOLIDAY DUIS.
One of the worst ways to celebrate the holidays is sitting in a jail cell after being arrested for
DUI or worse. However, many Georgians will make poor drinking and driving choices between
now and early January. Even one drink is too many when operating a motor vehicle.
Additionally, taking drugs, prescription or not, can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a
Law enforcement officers increase their presence on the roads in order to make the holidays as
safe as possible.
With the above in mind, here are five sobering facts every driver should know during the holiday
season and beyond:
1. All Drivers Need to be Aware of DUI Laws.
Just because you are sober does not mean you cannot be arrested for DUI. Manner of speech,
tiredness, red eyes, difficulty finding insurance paperwork, poor coordination, and nervousness
are just some of the reasons a DUI investigation can begin. If a driver is asked by an officer to
get out of the vehicle, he or she needs to comply. However, it is always best to politely decline
performing any field sobriety tests. These tests include, but are not limited to, the walk and turn,
one leg stand, HGN test (follow the officer’s pen light with your eyes), and the small portable
alcosensor used at the scene (not to be confused with the Intoxilizer 9000 that is sometimes used
at the police station after the driver has been arrested). You can find a complete column about
what to do and not do when being investigated for DUI under “articles” at
2. There’s a Spike in DUIs Over the Holidays.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over one-third of
the total motor vehicle traffic deaths each year are attributed to impaired driving. While this
number is very general, the chances of a drunken driving fatality spikes around the holidays.
This is primarily due to the overall increase in alcohol consumption from November to early
January each year.
3. More Impaired Drivers Hit the Road at Night.
December has the least amount of daylight hours than any month on the calendar. Many holiday
parties end well after the sun has set at 6:00pm. Because the number of intoxicated drivers
increases after sunset, the danger of a deadly DUI increases as well.
According to NHTSA, drivers involved in fatal crashes generally have rates of impairment 2.5
times higher at night than during the day. While driving at night should not be avoided
altogether, driving during the day decreases the chances of encountering a severely intoxicated
Additionally, patrol officers are more active at night as they seek to make our roads safer. The
chances of being stopped or encountering a roadblock increases as well.
4. There Will Be Plenty of Roadblocks.
During the holidays, law enforcement agencies put together roadblocks in areas where there have
been a high level of prior DUI arrests. When the driver sees a roadblock ahead, he or she needs
to proceed ahead. Turning around is the worst decision to make other than drinking and driving
in the first place. When driving through these checkpoints, a driver may be stopped without any
reasonable, articulable suspicion that the driver is impaired.
However, if the driver is briefly detained for further investigation of a possible DUI, the officer
must have reasonable, articulable suspicion that the driver is impaired or that another crime is
being committed (ex. illegal possession of a controlled substance). A search of the vehicle can
only be done when the driver gives consent or when the officer has a higher level of belief
(probable cause) that a crime is being committed.
5. Morning DUIs
The vast majority of drivers arrested between 6am and 10am did not wake up and take a drink
that morning. They drank heavily into the night and got little sleep. This sometimes happens at
late night parties or when someone is alone drinking throughout the holiday season. “Sleeping it
off” does not work. While someone may not feel “drunk” in the morning as he or she drives
home, to get breakfast, or to work, their blood alcohol content may be over 0.08%.
Being responsible by refusing to drink or take drugs before driving is the only way to ensure that
DUI convictions, highway deaths attributed to DUI, and the many consequences that follow do
not happen. Keep this and the above facts in mind when you are behind the wheel this holiday
Let’s make 2018 they year when DUI and DUI related deaths begin to significantly decrease in