To those who work in the hospitality industry, New Year’s Eve is known as “amateur night.” This holiday is one where parents who have young children and light and casual drinkers head out to have a nice dinner or grab drinks even if they don’t do so regularly the rest of the year. Because of this, it should not come as a surprise that there are more car accidents, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests, and deaths due to auto accidents during this night than any other time of the year.
The Connection Between New Year’s Eve and DUI Arrests
When it comes to DUI arrests, New Year’s Eve is by far the worst night of the entire year for drivers getting a first DUI offense charge later in the night or early morning hours of the New Year. This is due in large part to “lightweight” drinkers overdoing it with their alcohol as well as the number of DUI checkpoints and extra law enforcement officers roaming the streets. Other factors can also influence this statistic, including the night of the week on which New Year’s Eve falls—when NYE is on a weekend, the instances of individuals traveling increases greatly.
The state of the economy also has an impact on the number of New Year’s Eve DUI arrests – when unemployment is high, more individuals stay home to celebrate the new year in an attempt to save money, which means fewer DUI arrests. When the economy is booming, more individuals head elsewhere to celebrate, meaning more intoxicated individuals on the road and a higher arrest rate. While ride services like Lyft and Uber are available and popular, they have little effect on the DUI rate.
While a higher arrest rate for DUI is tied to New Year’s Eve, there is no correlation between the holiday and an increase in DUI fatalities. New Year’s Eve, in fact, falls behind Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July on that list. The Fourth of July actually averages about ten more vehicle deaths every year due to alcohol than New Year’s Eve. The night before Thanksgiving is also being dubbed “amateur night” where bars offer college students home on break cheap drinks.
There is always an increased chance of being pulled over and arrested for DUI around the holidays, given the increased opportunities to have a few drinks with family and friends. In these circumstances, the best way to avoid a holiday DUI is to simply drink at home, have a designated driver, or be the designated driver for your group of family members or friends.
Planning ahead on any night out when drinking will be going on, is the easiest way to prevent a situation later where you will be needing expert legal help for ways how to beat a DUI or DWI charge. Being prepared and not getting behind the wheel after drinking can help you avoid a risky situation—not only for yourself, but for others as well.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.