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Deadly DUI Season Begins Next Wednesday

Media Type: Press Release

Infographic highlights increases in binge drinking, DUIs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s

DENVER – Here’s one holiday tradition we could do without: Data from a number of organizations shows that binge drinking and drunk driving increase astronomically during the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving Eve, which is now termed “Blackout Wednesday” in many cities.

The data, highlighted in an Infographic released by Alcohol Monitoring Systems as part of their annual public awareness campaign, paints a picture of high-risk drinking and increased rates of DUI injuries and deaths during the 36-day holiday season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 728 people will be injured or killed each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in drunk driving accidents, a rate two to three times higher than the rest of the year.

Thanksgiving Eve Now “Blackout Wednesday”

The latest trend for the season is a substantial rise in binge drinking and DUIs on Thanksgiving Eve, or Blackout Wednesday. That day has become particularly high-risk for young people, and in some urban areas, bars report that they now see more business on that day than St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s. The CDC defines binge drinking for women as four or more drinks in a sitting. For men it’s five or more.

Even already-convicted drunk drivers who are sentenced to 24/7 alcohol monitoring can’t seem to shake the temptations of the season. According toAMS, drinking violations for the more than 17,000 offenders they monitor daily skyrocket an average of 32% during the holiday period. “And that’s for individuals who know they’re being tested every 30 minutes, know they’ll be caught and know there will be consequences,” says Mike Iiams, AMSchairman and CEO. “That number just illustrates the significance of family stress, money stress and an endless supply of holiday temptations for people already struggling with alcohol.” On New Year’s, violations increase 112% compared to the rest of the year, according to Iiams.

Sober Days for the Holidays

The data on drinking violations from AMS was compiled from the more than 315,000 offenders they’ve monitored since 2003. The company has launched their annual public awareness campaign, Sober Days for the Holidays™, to educate courts and communities about the increased risks their data trending shows. This year’s campaign highlights the tragic news stories behind the data. “It puts a local, personal face to the numbers and serves as an important reminder—that our choices when we celebrate can tragically change lives,” says Iiams. “We generally monitor the highest-risk, hardcore drunk drivers. And their violations go up substantially. Now imagine what’s happening with the ones we aren’t monitoring,” he says.

AMS encourages everyone to make a plan for getting home safely before you leave, rather than deciding how to get home after you’ve been drinking. In addition, law enforcement agencies throughout the country will be running roadside sobriety checkpoints beginning next Monday, including the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AMS manufactures the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring™ system, an anklet worn 24/7 that automatically tests a person’s sweat every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption.

About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS)
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 One-Piece GPS™ and SCRAM House Arrest™. AMS employs 136 people worldwide and is a privately held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.