But drunk driving still expected to spike over holiday
June 24, 2016, DENVER—A new analysis of the drinking behavior of drunk drivers during the 4th of July shows that a Monday holiday is nearly three times safer than when the holiday takes place later in the week.
Data released this week by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) examined the drinking behavior of drunk drivers who were sentenced to abstinence and monitored for alcohol use every 30 minutes, 24/7, as a condition of their sentence. Among the monitored offenders, when the July 4th holiday fell on a Monday, drinking went up 15 percent versus the average rate of drinking violations the rest of the year. Comparatively, when Independence Day fell on a Thursday through Sunday, that violation rate increased as much as 42 percent.
The data is consistent with analyses of offender drinking behavior over other holidays that may fall on varying days of the week, where Monday holidays mean people better moderate their drinking. That’s potentially good news for law enforcement agencies across the county, many of whom are implementing additional patrols and DUI checkpoints for the holiday weekend.
AMS points out that while a Monday holiday may temper drinking violations, it’s still one of the most dangerous days of the year for alcohol-related traffic crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), alcohol was a factor in 41 percent of roadway fatalities during the 2014 holiday. NHTSA is publicizing the data as part of their ongoing Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over awareness campaign.
The majority of individuals monitored by AMS are considered to be high-risk, repeat DUI offenders. The company’s analysis looked at more than 2 billion alcohol readings from 485,000 monitored clients. Because the testing protocol is automated and every 30 minutes, it allows social researchers to look at patterns and trends in the behaviors of alcohol offenders.
AMS provides holiday-related data each year to drive awareness about the dangers of binge drinking and drunk driving. “The defendants we monitor have been court-ordered not to drink, they know they’ll get caught, and they know there will be consequences, including jail, if they do,” says Kathleen Brown, industry analyst and chief community relations officer at Denver-based AMS. “So just imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren’t being monitored. That’s what makes these holidays so dangerous. When people drink, they make bad choices, and injuries and fatalities skyrocket,” says Brown.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS) is the world’s leading provider of alcohol testing technologies for the criminal justice industry. The company’s flagship Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) technology, launched in 2003, revolutionized the way courts, agencies and treatment providers monitor and manage alcohol-involved offenders. In 2013 the company launched the SCRAM Systems® suite of electronic monitoring technologies, which includes SCRAM Remote Breath®, SCRAM GPS® and SCRAM House Arrest®. AMS employs 200 people worldwide and is a privately held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.