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Ahead of Thanksgiving Travel, Police Seek D.C. DUI Awareness

by | Nov 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is all about tradition.

One of those appears to be rather unexpected: DUI arrest.

D.C. DUI lawyers understand that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Thanksgiving is behind only New Year’s Eve in terms of DUIs committed by repeat, high-risk drunk drivers.

Violations for these individuals, who are under continuous monitoring, apparently spike 54 percent on Thanksgiving Day. Compare that to a 62 percent hike on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

What’s also worth noting is that the courts tend to increase their supervision around the holidays. One of those efforts is called “Sober Days,” which are essentially periods of continuous testing throughout the day that confirms no drinking or attempts to get around the testing. For example, the Alcohol Monitoring Systems, which is responsible for the alcohol ankle bracelets worn by some convicted or awaiting trial on alcohol-related offenses, can test a person’s perspiration periodically throughout the day to determine whether he or she has consumed alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control is estimating that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we’re going to lose 1,200 lives due to traffic crashes involving alcohol. Just this weekend alone, from Wednesday evening to Monday morning, the National Safety Council is estimating that 450 people will lose their lives and another 48,300 will be injured. That’s a bit higher than what the actual figures were for 2010 and 2009, but lower than what we saw in the four years prior to that.

Police in Arlington, VA are trying to get ahead of that with a visual reminder in the form of an oddly-painted Ford Crown Victoria. On the front half, it appears to be a normal police cruiser. However, the back half is painted as a yellow taxi. The logo on the rear passenger side door reads, “Choose Your Ride.”

The vehicle is only meant to remind people of their alternatives. There is no police officer who can give you a ride home, nor is there a cab driver inside who can arrest you. The vehicle was donated by a local cab company, with the police lights on top donated by the Arlington Police Department.

There is a number on the back for a Sober Ride, a program that offers free taxi rides in the Washington D.C. area several times a year. The longest stretch during which the program is offered is Dec. 14 through New Year’s Eve.

We can expect to see the car paraded around to area police departments throughout the holiday season. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program indicates that 25 percent of all drunk driving fatalities that occur throughout the year happen in December.

Washington D.C. in 2010 reported nearly 120 fatal crashes in which the driver’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.01 percent or higher. (Keep in mind, the legal limit is 0.08 percent.) That’s actually the highest it’s been in four years, according to the regional alcohol program.

Generally, however, alcohol-related traffic incidents are on the decline, at least between 2009 and 2010. Still, we saw some 4,689 DUI crashes, 2,373 injuries and 14,594 arrests, according to The Washington Post.

If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Scrofano Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights or fill out our online contact form. Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards accepted. Call 202-765-3175.