New York residents who venture out onto the roads can be involved in an accident with an impaired driver at any time of the year, but the risks increase significantly during the holiday period. Drunk driving accidents typically claim more than 30 lives each day in the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; that figure rises to 45 deaths each day over Christmas and 54 deaths on New Year’s Day.
In 2010, 2,597 Americans were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period. A report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that about 40% of them lost their lives in crashes involving drunk drivers. Road deaths surge during the holidays because people who do not usually consume alcohol will binge drink during parties and celebrations.
Drunk driving arrests
Drunk driving arrests are also at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. This is largely because police departments around the country launch DUI crackdowns each December as part of NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. In 2019, the New York State Police beefed up patrols and arrested 5,677 motorists for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the enforcement campaign.
Fighting drunk driving charges
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe in New York, but these cases are sometimes challenging for prosecutors. The equipment issued to law enforcement to conduct breath tests is extremely sophisticated and accurate, but police departments do not always maintain it properly. When service records reveal that breath-testing equipment had not been regularly checked and recalibrated, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have toxicology evidence excluded. Attorneys might also question the validity of breath-tests if their clients use asthma inhalers or suffer from one of the medical conditions that are known to influence BAC readings.