Virginians should be especially careful over St. Patrick’s Day weekend this year. Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, experts expect there to be a surge in drunk driving cases as people head out to celebrate the holiday after work.
Data from Alcohol Monitoring Systems indicates that the increase in drunk driving is estimated to be 50 percent higher when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekend than when it falls during the week. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk drivers account for almost 33 percent of the fatal traffic collisions that occur each year during the first six hours of March 18, the day after St. Patrick’s Day.
AMS tracks information with people who have to wear alcohol monitoring bracelets because of DUI-related offenses. The company derived its data from information from 540,000 offenders. Experts recommend that people plan ahead before heading out so that they know how they will get home if they drink too much. They also recommend that people prepopulate rideshare service information in their phones, keep a list of cab companies handy or designate drivers who will remain sober to drive them home.
Drunk driving convictions may lead to severe penalties. At-fault motorists may be incarcerated, lose their driving privileges, be forced to install ignition interlock devices and pay stiff fines. An individual charged with a DUI offense might benefit from retaining a criminal defense attorney. Lawyers may be able to secure pleas to lesser offenses. They may also be able to challenge the evidence in some cases to prevent it from being used against their clients.