When the turkey has been carved and the left overs put away, the real ‘party’ portion of the Thanksgiving holiday starts. With so many people off for an extra long weekend, police around the country need to put in extra hours to stop the surge of drunk drivers.
Out of all the holidays, the Thanksgiving period of Wednesday to Sunday is at the top of the heap as far as drunk driver crashes. Although the busiest night tends to be the one right before Thanksgiving, the entire weekend results in more drunk drivers on the road in the USA than any time other than New Year’s Eve.
Take the state of California as an example: on last year’s Thanksgiving long weekend, 76 drunk drivers were arrested between Wednesday and Sunday in San Diego County alone. The entire state saw 982 arrests on that weekend, and alcohol-related fatalities saw a jump from 33 to 45 over the previous year.
If you are stopped and arrested on suspicion of DUI, the penalties you’ll face depend on your state. If you’re a first offender in California you’ll have to say goodbye to those Thanksgiving leftovers because you’ll spend anywhere from 4 days up to 6 months in jail, pay fines up to $1,000, lose your drivers license for a minimum of 30 days up to 1 year, and some counties require you to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle you drive.
You can expect driving under the influence (DUI) saturation patrols to be out in full force, not just in California, but across the United States. They will be patrolling highways and setting up checkpoints, so if you’d like to stay safe this Thanksgiving long weekend, your best option is to appoint a sober driver or just skip the drinks this weekend.