The winter holidays are always dangerous when it comes to drinking and driving. Police officers are often on patrol during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The Department of Public Safety is always looking for speeders, possibly intoxicated drivers and people not wearing seat belts but much more so during the holidays.
DPS troopers during the past Christmas holidays arrested 651 drivers for DWI and issued 15,400 speeding tickets and 2,580 safety restraint violations. The New Year’s holiday period resulted in 304 drivers arrested for DWI. Troopers issued 5,173 speeding tickets and 912 safety restraint violations.
Since imbibing drivers expect police to be in a heightened state of vigilance over these holidays, these drivers are less likely to get behind a wheel. Austin and Albert Lea police have both noticed a lack of DWI arrests. “For the month of December in 2011 we had a total of 11 DWIs, that’s slightly down from 2010. The month of December 2010 we had 16 DWIs” said Lt. J. D. Carlson from Albert Lea. “When you look at our overall numbers for the city and county in the past six years, they have trended downward,” said Austin Police captain Dave McKichan.
Both holidays are turning into nights where people are celebrating but also making plans to get taxis, get designated drivers or, in some cases, walk. One Houston man was struck and killed in a drunken driving-related accident as he went walking to buy cigarettes just before Christmas Eve. As Glenn Sample walked across the street at an intersection near the George Bush Intercontinental airport, a Pontiac G6 operated by an alleged drunk driver, collided into a Buick LeSabre. The Buick lost control and struck Sample, who died instantly.
In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the USA. Alcohol consumption, either by the driver or the walker was involved in nearly half of those pedestrian fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The risk for these pedestrian accidents is especially high on New Year’s. More pedestrians die on New Year’s Day than on any other day of the year.
New Year’s Eve is the biggest drinking holiday of all. If you were able to stay safe this New Year’s Eve, then you must’ve been careful about where and how you celebrated. If you weren’t able to stay safe this New Year’s Eve, then you need to speak to a Texas DWI attorney.