With Thanksgiving this week and the holidays nearly upon us, it is important to stay safe while out on the roads after imbibing some holiday cheer. The higher number of cars on the road as many travel to celebrate with loved ones, combined with frequent holiday gatherings stretching from Thanksgiving to New Years, makes the holiday season a recipe for disaster on American roads. Law enforcement follows this trend by increasing on-duty officers and checkpoints, making a DUI arrest more likely.
- The good news: Injuries and deaths from car crashes related to DUI are at the lowest they have been in 5 years.
- The bad news: There were still 381 fatalities in alcohol related crashes that could have easily been avoided.
|— Fatal Crashes||397||408||393||375||363|
|— Injury Crashes||6,887||6,773||6,241||6,425||5,864|
|— PDO Crashes||5,428||5,245||5,171||5,156||4,814|
While many people think New Year’s Eve would have the highest number of drunk driving accidents and DUI arrests, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 2013 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics report on Alcohol-Related Holiday Crashes reports shows it is actually Thanksgiving topping the charts as the holiday with the highest number of drunk driving crashes.
Before heading to Thanksgiving dinner or to your favorite sports bar to watch the Eagles crush the Cowboys, it’s important to have a plan in place to stay safe while driving and decrease your chance of a DUI arrest.
3 Tips for Avoiding a DUI Arrest this Thanksgiving and Holiday Seasons
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep yourself, and others, out of harm’s way (and out of handcuffs) this holiday season.
Know Your Limits
This classic rule remains true. Imbibe sparingly or not at all if you know you need to get behind the wheel. Know when to refuse the next Yuengling or glass of cabernet to avoid finding yourself too intoxicated to drive home safely. Your not just risking a DUI arrest, but the lives of loved ones and strangers on the road.
In Pennsylvania, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is a .08%. While the rate of intoxication varies based on many factors including age, gender, fat to muscle ratio, food consumed, and more, sticking to a one drink or less per hour rule is one way to estimate a lower BAC. A standard drink is considered one 12 oz. beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine, or one 1.5 oz. shot of distilled spirits, but keep in mind drink strength varies across the board and that officer’s won’t consider your beverage preferences when making a DUI arrest.
Pick a designated driver
Carpool to your next holiday gathering and select a designated driver who will commit to staying sober to ensure everyone gets home safely and no one has to endure a DUI arrest. Offer to trade off who is DD for various events during the holiday season.
Be sure to pick a designated driver before the party begins and have a plan in place so you aren’t scrambling to find a ride. For the safest option, don’t hesitate to call a cab or Uber for transportation. The cost of a DUI arrest or conviction far outweighs those few extra dollars spent on the cab, so why take the chance?
Be aware of holiday checkpoints
Police are on high alert during the holiday season and a greater number of DUI checkpoints are often set up. At these checkpoints, police typically stop drivers and check for signs of intoxication. Officers are trained to pick up on small signs of inebriation; even if you manage to avoid a DUI arrest, getting detained and interrogated is a time-consuming embarrassment. If you do avoid the checkpoints, be aware of an increase in police activity out on the roadways.
In reality, Pennsylvania DUI laws are among the harshest in the nation. If you choose to raise a glass or two while at holiday parties, always remember the consequences of getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
In the event you are facing a DUI arrest, it is important to hire an experienced attorney. R. Patrick Link is recognized as a leading criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia, written theDUI Lawyer in Philadelphia’s Guide and DUI Defense Tips, and successfully defended hundreds of DWI / DUI cases.
Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season!