Police officers generally arrest motorists anytime that they notice concerning signs of intoxication at the wheel. They tend to request chemical testing after car crashes and during traffic stops if someone has been driving poorly or slurs their speech while talking to an officer. Someone can get arrested for drunk driving in South Carolina any day of the year and at any time of day. However, there are certain times at which enforcement efforts are generally higher than others. These higher enforcement times tend to correlate with higher risk times for drunk driving crashes.
Some people are aware that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest bar nights of the year. They may have also witnessed their family members drinking beer while watching football games or downing multiple glasses of wine while cooking a big family holiday meal. That strong association between Thanksgiving and alcohol is one reason why the Thanksgiving holiday season results in a major uptick in drunk driving enforcement efforts in South Carolina.
Enforcement follows crash trends
The holiday weekend sees a noticeable increase in deadly dark driving crashes. Many families have a bittersweet experience of Thanksgiving because the holiday is an anniversary of a loved one’s death. Every year, there are a higher-than-average number of drunk driving collisions around Thanksgiving than there are on a typical weekend.
In 2021, for example, there were 190 recorded deaths nationwide during the four-day holiday weekend. Police departments in South Carolina frequently engage in public education campaigns related to Thanksgiving and may even decide to conduct sobriety checkpoints and some means of deterring people from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
When police officers are on high alert for certain types of infractions, they sometimes reach the wrong conclusions about why drivers did something the wheel. There is also a greater risk of overuse of chemical testing units that might lead to calibration issues or other factors that contribute to unreliable test results.
Drivers are a greater risk of an arrest for drunk driving around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend but may also have opportunities to defend against any charges that they may face as a result of heightened enforcement efforts. Seeking legal guidance accordingly tends to be wise.