New data underscores the danger on the roads this weekend
DENVER—Newly released alcohol monitoring data for drunk drivers shows that when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekend, drinking violations skyrocket, with nearly double the illegal drinking for offenders who are court-ordered to abstain from alcohol.
According to Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which has monitored more than 279,000 drunk drivers since 2003, confirmed drinking violations will increase 23% this Saturday when compared to the average rate of violations the rest of the years. When St. Patrick’s Day falls mid-week, the increase is nearly one-half, at 12%. AMS published the data as part of a St. Patrick’s Day Pub Trivia Quiz, designed to help law enforcement drive awareness about the dangers of the holiday and remind revelers to plan ahead.
According to AMS CEO Mike Iiams, the data is compiled and analyzed as part of an ongoing initiative that looks at the behavioral patterns of Hardcore Drunk Drivers, 98% of whom are diagnosed as alcohol-dependent. “These are criminal offenders who know they are being monitored 48 times a day, and who know they will be caught. Now imagine the people out drinking—and drinking and driving—who aren’t being monitored,” he says. Their SCRAMContinuous Alcohol Monitoring technology samples a person’s sweat every 30 minutes, 24/7, in order to measure for any alcohol consumption.
NHTSA Data on St. Patrick’s Day
AMS says their data underscores the challenges law enforcement will face this weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2006 and 2010, two-fifths of those killed by drunk drivers died on St. Patrick’s Day holidays. In 2010, 80% of the fatal accidents on St. Patrick’s Day involved a driver with a BAC of more than twice the legal limit. “It’s a holiday of extremes,” says Iiams.
A number of organizations are publicizing options for a safe ride home, including AAA, which has started a list of local chapters offering the service. Cab companies and public transportation often participate, as well. “Just plan ahead, it’s not that complicated,” says Iiams. “Don’t wait until you’re drinking to realize you may need to make a decision. Just make it in advance, and then safely enjoy your evening.”
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS)
Established in 1997, AMS is the world’s largest provider of Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) technology. AMS manufactures SCRAM, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption and integrates home detention monitoring into a single anklet. SCRAM fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing courts and community corrections agencies with the ability to continuously monitor alcohol offenders, increase offender accountability and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. AMS employs 126 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.