Why do the summer holidays inspire such an uptick in drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | DUI Checkpoints

Researchers looking for trends in traffic collision data are often able to identify patterns. For example, there are certain times when particular types of collisions seem to occur more frequently. There is a strong association between major federal holidays and drunk driving collisions.

There are holidays scattered throughout the year, and any of those holidays might lead to people over-indulging at social gatherings and then trying to drive home while under the influence. However, when looking across the course of an entire year, the summer has more drunk driving collisions than any other season. It averages roughly 28% of all drunk driving fatalities that occur annually, and many of them may occur on holidays or the weekends right before or after them. Therefore, police departments tend to prioritize driving under the influence (DUI) patrols and sobriety checkpoints around Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day.

Why do drunk driving crashes increase during the warmer months?

Summer socialization lends itself to drinking

Warm temperatures and outdoor party settings create a perfect situation for potentially severe collisions. The summer holidays also feature celebration traditions, like fireworks and barbecues, that lend themselves to drinking alcohol. People enjoy cooling off from warm summer weather with a cold beer, a chilled glass of sparkling wine or an icy cocktail. The heat can be a driving factor behind the over-consumption of alcohol. People may unknowingly drink far more than they usually would in an attempt to stay hydrated and regulate their body temperatures.

A social environment where people feel festive and have plenty of food also lends itself to the over-consumption of alcohol in many cases. People then feel pressure to head home from a party or social gathering. They don’t want to leave their car out on the streets or inconvenience their host by asking to stay on their couch for the night.

Unfortunately, the combination of drinking while at an event and social pressure to leave in a timely manner can combine to create a significantly increased drunk driving risk. Police officers are often out in higher numbers on holiday weekends because of the known increase in crashes. They may also secure permission to conduct sobriety checkpoints.

Drivers arrested for alleged impairment at the wheel around the holidays might need to very carefully plan their DUI defense strategies if they hope to avoid a conviction. Fighting back against drunk driving charges can help someone to potentially keep their license and preserve their reputation.

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