Around this time last year, AAA reported that a record 115.6 million Americans were set to travel by road over the holiday season. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unlikely to see such volume this year; however, roads will still become busier as we get further into December.
Of course, more traffic means more traffic stops, and ultimately more convictions for driving offenses. Coupled with the increased levels of alcohol consumption over the festive period, this causes arrests for driving under the influence to spike sharply around Christmas.
December DWI statistics in Minnesota suggest our state is no different than any other in this regard. If you want to stay safe on the roads in the coming weeks, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
December DWI Statistics in Minnesota
Below are some key facts and figures relating to impaired driving offenses and DWI charges over the holiday period.
- In 2019, between the night of Christmas Eve and the morning of December 26, there was a total of 106 DWI arrests in Minnesota. Don’t expect to get away with driving under the influence just because it’s Christmas Day; police are still on patrol.
- December was the third-worst month for impaired driving incidents in Minnesota in 2017, after July and August.
- Around 300 lives, on average, are lost nationwide each year in drunk-driving incidents in the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Why Do Minnesota DWIs Increase Around Christmas?
DWI charges and convictions increase in December for a number of reasons. Chief among these is the fact that there is simply more alcohol flowing than at other times. There are work parties and family get-togethers to attend, events that involve social drinking. Statistics also show that binge-drinking tends to increase around the holiday period, likely due to financial worries, family issues, and so on.
More people take to the road in late December than at other times, as mentioned above. Last year, over 90% of Americans who traveled for the holidays did so in a motor vehicle.
There is also the fact of increased police presence to consider. Minnesota police forces deploy extra officers to watch out for impaired driving over the holiday season.
How to Avoid a DWI Charge in Minnesota This Holiday Season
The best way to avoid becoming one of the statistics listed above is not to drink if you want to drive. If you’re going out for drinks, plan how you intend to get home; pick a designated driver or book a taxi in advance.
However, it’s not always that simple. Alcohol lingers in your system for many hours after you stop consuming it, causing many early-morning drivers to unwittingly drive over the limit after a night out.
There is also the possibility of a DWI that is unrelated to alcohol. The number of such DWI convictions has skyrocketed in Minnesota in recent years. Marijuana, the most widely-used recreational drug in the United States other than alcohol, can remain present in the body up to 28 days after use.
If you’re unsure about how these factors might affect your case, a lawyer will be able to clear up any confusion.
Staying Safe on the Road This Christmas
Christmas DWI statistics in Minnesota do not make for encouraging reading, especially if you’re planning to drive a lot this holiday season. To make sure you don’t end up getting charged, always try to drink responsibly if you might have to get behind the wheel.
However, if you are arrested for a DWI offense in Minnesota, we can help. Contact us today for a free case review.