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Are DUI arrests more common during the holidays?

Aside from the festive cheer, holiday lights and Christmas gifts, the winter holidays are also known for DUI arrests. With the higher number of people driving in and through Phoenix to visit family for the holidays, the many holiday parties and the potential for inclement winter weather come together in a perfect storm for car accidents. 

Arizona traditionally comes down hard on suspected impaired drivers during the key celebratory weekends of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. DUI task force measures traditionally spring up during the holidays to keep Arizona roads safer during this happy holiday time. 

Arizona DUI arrest history 

From 2017 to 2018, DUI arrests in Arizona increased from 1,705 arrests to 1,926 arrests over the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas. These arrests occur most often between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. as folks drive home from a party or event. The increase in arrests does not necessarily mean that more people are driving drunk. Arizona authorities organize more officers to patrol during the holidays each year to help curb the number of impaired driving deaths. 

Holiday DUI arrests 

Nationwide data suggests that Christmas and Thanksgiving are not the most dangerous times to drive. Both New Year’s and Fourth of July saw far more alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017 than the other major holidays according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2017, New Year’s weekend alone brought over 900 traffic fatalities, and 31% of those crashes involved a drunk driver. In comparison, 300 deaths related to drunk driving happened throughout the country in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. 

Regardless, a DUI arrest would put a damper on the holiday spirit. People planning to help their holiday spirit with a drink or two should consider arranging a designated driver or another transportation service. In fact, though Arizona saw more DUI arrests from 2017 to 2018, there was also an 18% increase in participation in the designated driver program. Hopefully, these continued efforts will keep the holidays happier for everyone.