Halloween is a holiday that children and adults alike enjoy. After kids have finished going door-to-door trick-or-treating, parties full of friends, costumes, and drinking begin. However, all the fun can come to a sudden halt if you are charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) on your way to or from a party. Halloween drunk driving is a common issue throughout Utah and the rest of the US. To avoid finding yourself charged with a DUI, there are several things every driver should know before the Halloween festivities begin.
What Is Considered a DUI?
There are various factors that are considered when determining if a person is driving under the influence. Police officers know to look for signs that a driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and may stop you if you are driving erratically, driving significantly over or under the speed limit or swerving from lane to lane when driving. The following factors are cause for an officer to charge you with a DUI:
- Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% or more, which can be measured via a breathalyzer or blood test;
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more;
- Lacking the ability to drive a vehicle safely due to being under the influence of any sort of drug; though alcohol is often a cause of DUIs, you can also be charged if you are under the influence of a controlled or uncontrolled substance, which may include legally prescribed medication
How Common Are DUIs on Halloween?
DUIs are unfortunately quite common during the holidays, including Halloween. However, many people don’t realize just how common DUIs truly are on Halloween. Halloween driving statistics help to paint a better picture of how common the issue of Halloween drunk driving really is.
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on Halloween nights between 2013-2017, there were a combined total 158 fatalities nationally due to drunk driving
- When compared to all other holidays, Halloween night had one of the highest rates of car accidents in Utah in 2016 due to drunk driving
- Nationally, according to NHTSA, on Halloween night from 2013-2017, at least one drunk driver was involved in approximately 42% of fatal incidents
- In 2017 alone, 10,874 people nationwide were killed in car accidents that involved at least one driver who had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher
What Is the Cost of a DUI?
There are various costs, financial and otherwise, of a DUI charge. Those who have previously been charged with a DUI, or CDL license holders, may lose their license, which can make it difficult to go to work and participate in other daily activities. In Utah, you may be fined roughly $1400 for your first DUI, and the costs only rise if you are being charged with your second DUI. Even if you are charged with your first DUI, however, there may be additional fines if someone is hurt in an accident.
How Can You Avoid a DUI?
Now that you know what constitutes citing a DUI and how common they are on Halloween, you probably want to know how to avoid Halloween drunk driving entirely. Many people think that they have to give up drinking or that they can’t go anywhere on Halloween if they want to avoid a DUI, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are several options you have on Halloween that can help you to avoid a DUI, including:
- Acting as the designated driver
- Restricting your alcohol intake to one or two drinks over a longer period of time, or choose not to drink entirely
- Calling and Uber, Lyft or a taxi service to pick you and your friends up; often, these services will offer discounts on Halloween in order to encourage others to stay off the roads while intoxicated
- If you aren’t the designated driver, ask a friend or family member to ask as your designated driver
- If you for some reason can’t access a taxi, Uber or Lyft and you also don’t have a designated driver, stay at a friend’s house overnight instead of putting yourself and others at risk by driving
What Should You Do if You Suspect Someone Else Is Driving Under the Influence?
It’s important for you and your loved ones to know how to avoid Halloween drunk driving. However, if you are a designated driver on Halloween, you should also be aware that just because you are sober doesn’t necessarily mean that others on the road are as well. If you see someone driving erratically on the road, swerving, drifting in between lanes, speeding or exhibiting other unsafe behavior while driving, you need to know what to do to keep yourself and others safe. Don’t try to go after or stop a driver that you suspect is intoxicated, as this could result in injury to you or someone else. Instead, keep a safe distance from the driver if possible and call your local police to inform them of what you’re seeing and where the suspected driver is located.
Doing your part to keep the roads safer on Halloween will make the holiday much more enjoyable for you and for everyone else. Understanding what may get you charged with a DUI and knowing how to avoid being charged, you can keep yourself and your community safer. However, if you’ve already been charged with a DUI on or around Halloween, it’s important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side. Contact one of the attorneys at Schatz, Anderson & Associates today if you’ve been cited with driving while impaired. Our DUI attorneys act quickly, and work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected.