What Coloradans Should Know About DUIs And Holidays

Between 2009 and 2013, 38 people died in drunk driving accidents in Larimer County. DUI accidents can increase during holiday times.

Drunk drivers pose serious risks to other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in Colorado all year long. However, when major holidays occur, the risks can increase. The National Safety Council ranked our nation's top holidays in terms of the risk associated with drunk driving. While the Fourth of July was in the number one position, Thanksgiving, New Year's and Christmas together captured 50 percent of the list. These three upcoming holidays were listed as the third, fifth and sixth most dangerous due to drunk drivers.

DUI arrests increase over holidays

BACtrack.com explains that nationwide, the period extending from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend through New Year's Day sees a jump in the number of drunk driving arrests made.

Fatal accidents also on the rise over holidays

Sadly, the number of deaths associated with drunk driving accidents is also known to increase during this same time. USA Today explains that when key holidays land on weekends, the risk of impaired driving accidents increases even further. This year, both Christmas and New Year's will land on weekends. Thanksgiving always covers a weekend and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as Black Wednesday because of the number of people who drink and drive.

A look at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2001 and 2005 shows how impaired driving deaths spike over New Year's and Christmas. For most of the year, there were an average 36 drunk driving deaths per day. On nonholiday December dates, that number was 33 drunk driving deaths per day.

Over days associated with the Christmas holiday, the number rose to 45 drunk driving deaths per day. New Year's holiday dates experienced the highest number of drunk driving deaths with 54 per day.

How many drunk driving deaths occur in Colorado?

According to the NHTSA, 142 people died in Colorado at the hands of drunk drivers in 2013. In 2012, there were 136 such deaths and in 2011 another 160 deaths. Between 2009 and 2013, a total of 38 people died in accidents involving alcohol in Larimer County specifically.

Law enforcement is known to step up patrols for drunk drivers over holidays. A total of 411 DUI arrests were recorded in Colorado over the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday per the Colorado Department of Transportation. That same holiday time saw four people lose their lives in DUI accidents.

How can the risk be lowered?

Utilizing designated drivers or services such as Uber can be one way to keep people safer. However, not every person who drinks will make these choices. This means that drunk driving accidents will continue to happen. Getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible after such a tragedy is always recommended.