Everyone knows that prime time for police to make arrests regarding drunk drivers are nights and weekends. It would come as no surprise to most people to hear that late night on a Friday would understandably be a busy time for suspected drunk driving arrests. What many people may not realize is that police have become increasingly concerned about daytime drunk drivers and the danger they pose to the unsuspecting public.
There are have been several articles in newspapers across the country recently about a push by officers to alert the public to the danger presented by impaired drivers during daylight. One article appeared in Washington State where officers say they have noticed a trend of more and more intoxicated drivers moving around during daylight. According to statistics released by the Washington State Highway Patrol, troopers made 2,800 DUI arrests between 6 in the morning and 6 at night in 2012. So far this year the department says it is on track to hit or exceed the numbers from last year, with 654 arrests between January and March that all occurred during the day.
The increasing tendency for drunk driving arrests to occur during daylight means that in Washington State one out of every eight DUI stops is now made during the day. This has officers worried and eager to crack down because daytime drunk driving can be especially dangerous due to the increased crowds out and about during working hours. At night the roads are much less crowded and there are thus fewer opportunities for impaired drivers to be involved in accidents.
Officers in Washington have said they are beginning aggressive emphasis patrols to try and reduce high daytime drunk driving numbers, much like the patrols that sometimes happen around busy holidays. Experts agree that daytime drunk drivers come from one of two groups: chronic alcoholics who rarely if ever stop drinking, and most often, those who had too much to drink the night before and don’t realize that they are still impaired.
Officers that are looking for daytime drunk drivers often have to employ different strategies than are used at night. In the evening, cops just watch for weaving and other erratic driving behavior. During the day these same actions do not create the same kind of alarm given that few people expect others to be drunk so early. Instead, officers that seek out to catch drunk drivers make sure to focus their morning shifts on busy restaurant and bar districts. Officers watch to see if anyone has fallen asleep in their vehicles and also check to see if people are arriving back at the bars to pick up cars they left the night before. While this may seem like the responsible thing to do, cops say its often the case that drivers underestimate how long it takes to sober up and that the motorists are still intoxicated in the morning when they arrive to take their car home.
Police departments across the country have said they need the public’s help to combat daytime drunk drivers. Because most people don’t associate erratic daytime driving with drunkenness, few people would ever think to call 911 when they see someone drifting out of their lane during daytime hours. Police say they hope to change that perception given that nearly 30% of all DUI arrests result from calls from the public.
If you’ve had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a Missouri DWI defense lawyer capable of aggressively protecting your interests, contact our St. Louis DWI law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: “Wash. State Patrol: One of every eight DUI stops is made during daytime,” by Lee Stoll, published at KIROTV.com.