Friday St. Patrick’s Day Means More DUIs Through the Weekend
This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, and newly released data indicates the day of the week could generate a surge in binge drinking and drunk driving this coming weekend.
The data, from Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), shows that drinking violations by repeat drunk drivers ordered to stay sober are expected to jump 17 percent nationwide on Friday March 17, compared to the average daily violation rate during the rest of the year. Most notable in the data is the fact that the expected surge is 50 percent higher than if St. Patrick’s Day fell during the week. AMS is also predicting violations will rise nearly 25 percent on Saturday, March 18.
The findings come from a nationwide analysis of the drinking behavior of 540,000 repeat DUI offenders monitored with continuous alcohol monitoring bracelets over the last 14 years for alcohol consumption. The testing protocol, which automatically tests participants every 30 minutes, 24/7, allows social researchers to analyze how different factors, such as specific holidays and days of the week, influence drinking violations.
The majority of individuals monitored by AMS are considered to be high-risk, repeat drunk drivers who have been court-ordered to stay sober, knew they were being monitored and knew there would be consequences for drinking, including incarceration. “The people we monitor know they will be caught, yet violations still skyrocket. You can imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren’t being monitored,” says Kathleen Brown, spokesperson for AMS.
Infographic highlights St. Patrick’s Day stats
AMS’ findings are consistent with statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other national organizations. NHTSA reports that during the first six hours of March 18, nearly a third of traffic crash fatalities involve drunk drivers, and 252 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes on St. Patrick’s Day between 2011 and 2015.
AMS has compiled these and other facts about St. Patrick’s Day drinking into a new infographic as part of a PSA campaign to generate awareness of the risks on the road for those out celebrating the holiday. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country will be running roadside sobriety checkpoints, including the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign organized by NHTSA.
Tips for a Safe St. Patrick’s Day Celebration:
•Plan ahead! Don’t wait until you start drinking to figure out how you’re getting home.
•Add contact information for local cab or car services into your phone or keep it handy. Many companies even offer special fares, so check ahead.
•Download and pre-populate your information for ride-sharing apps to make it easy to hail a ride at the end of the evening.
•Identify a Designated Driver and STICK WITH IT. If plans change, have a back-up option.