St. Patrick’s Day is generally known as a drinking holiday. And if the activities of the police are any indication, they believe that it translates into more drinking and driving than usual. Here’s a compilation of just a few of the activities around town on March 17, 2017:
- Gaslamp. The position of the DUI checkpoint in the Gaslamp Quarter was not a random decision. Around 20,000 people attend the annual ShamROCK block party, and alcohol is a major feature of the event. Almost 2,500 vehicles went through the checkpoint, and over 750 drivers were screened. Although 27 drivers were detained, 17 were released following field sobriety tests, and only 10 DUI arrests were made.
- Encinitas. Eight drivers were charged with drunk driving in Encinitas, where patrols were operated by deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
- Chula Vista. Saturation patrols in Chula Vista led to 64 traffic stops. Only two of those stopped were charged with DUI. Dozens more received citations for speeding, running red lights, driving on suspended licenses, and other traffic violations.
St. Patrick’s Day is ranked as the number 1 drinking holiday in the United States. And you might therefore expect it to be at the top of the list for drunk driving. In fact, the St. Paddy’s Day DUI tally is outranked by many other holidays. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day sees the most instances of DUI. July 4 is high on the list, along with Thanksgiving (including “Blackout Wednesday”), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, and Super Bowl Sunday. All are credited with having more drunk drivers on the road than on St. Patrick’s Day.
Focus on Drugged Driving – Dräger 5000
Drinking alcohol is not the only way to get busted for DUI. Being under the influence of drugs, prescription or otherwise, can also lead to your arrest. On March 17, San Diego police introduced a new weapon in their arsenal of fighting drugged driving. The Dräger Drug Test® 5000 is a hand-held drug device that the manufacturer says can use saliva to screen for many of the most commonly abused drugs. They include cocaine, opiates, THC, amphetamines, methadone, methamphetamines, and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, and others). We’ll have to wait to see how effective and reliable the device is. But one way to avoid finding out the hard way is not to voluntarily submit to it!
Law Office of David P. Shapiro
3500 5th Avenue, Suite 304,
San Diego, CA 92103