Halloween is a holiday enjoyed by both children and adults. Children get to dress up as their favorite characters and trick-or-treat for candy. Adults also like to dress up and attend a friend's costume party or go out to a local bar celebrating the holiday. Halloween is also a busy night for law enforcement looking to crack down on drinking and driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is one of the deadliest nights for accidents involving drunk drivers. On those nights between 2009 and 2013, 43% of all motor vehicle deaths involved intoxicated drivers. On Halloween night 2015, over 52% of highway fatalities involved drivers under the influence.
The potential for accidents may increase around Halloween. There are more pedestrians out after dark, many individuals are wearing masks which obscure their peripheral vision, and kids excited about the holiday may not look when crossing the road. Even if a driver feels fine after a couple of drinks, they may get into an accident and find themselves facing vehicular manslaughter because their blood alcohol level was just over the legal limit.
This year, Halloween falls on a Monday. Most adults will likely be celebrating the holiday on the Friday and Saturday before October 31st. “When Halloween falls during the week, the adult Halloween parties may be spread out over a two day period on the weekend before and then the night of,” said one public safety officer.
A couple of years ago, law enforcement officers conducted a Halloween checkpoint in Alameda near Union Street and Alameda Avenue. With the recent sobriety checkpoints set up in Hayward, Oakland, and Berkeley, other areas of the East Bay may see DUI checkpoints with officers looking for unlicensed and intoxicated drivers.
According to figures from the company Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), this Halloween we see a spike in drunk driving violations. The company based their estimates on 500,000 DUI offenders who are monitored for alcohol intake and prohibited from drinking as a term of their probation.
“The people we monitor have been court-ordered not to drink, know they'll get caught, and know there will be consequences, including jail time. So you can image the rate of drinking for those who aren't being monitored,” said Kathleen Brown, a spokesperson for AMS. “That's what makes holidays like Halloween so dangerous. When people drink, they make bad choices, and injuries and fatalities skyrocket.”
Children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Plan ahead this Halloween to avoid a DUI stop or sobriety checkpoint. Designate a sober driver, arrange for a taxi, Uber or Lyft ride home, or use public transportation.
If you end up under arrest on suspicion of drinking and driving remember that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending individuals charged with drunk driving offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a theft conviction can affect your future.