Just before Christmas, we highlighted some of the risks that come with deciding to drive under the influence of alcohol. Even if nobody is hurt, those caught imbibing and driving, end up being ordered to pay severe fines and lose their license for varying lengths of time. People who have incurred second or third offenses face even harsher penalties for their decisions.
The holiday season is notorious for good people making poor choices, especially when it comes to alcohol use. Most adults understand, and even appreciate, drunk driving laws; the thought of another person slamming into your vehicle while drunk is enough to make anyone cringe. Despite the fact that your average American agrees with having strict driving under the influence laws, many of those same people ignore the rules.
It doesn’t matter where a person hails from, the socio-economic background or level of education; anyone under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel puts countless people at risk of injury. Politicians to professors are eligible for DUIs, too.
Stanford Grad Student Sentenced in Fatal DUI Crash
In 2013, Stanford University grad student, Zachary Katz, got behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. He entered Highway 101 driving in the wrong direction and crashed head-on with a taxi carrying two unbuckled Puerto Ricans. One of the victims, Pedro Juan Soldevila, died on the scene, while the other survived but experienced significant head injuries. Last November, a jury found Katz guilty of three felonies, including vehicular manslaughter under the influence of alcohol, The Mercury News reports. A judge sentenced the young man, now 28, to nearly five years in prison and he is ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.
The Katz vehicular manslaughter case is not unique, and it underscores the grave risks that accompany driving under the influence. Kind, intelligent people regularly underestimate their level of inebriation; intoxicated individuals are ill-equipped to grasp the potential ramifications of their decisions. A point made clear by this holiday seasons drunk driving figures.
A Drunk Conclusion to 2017
During the 2017 holiday season, a significant number of people were arrested for driving intoxicated in California. In fact, between Dec. 29 and Jan.1, the California Highway Patrol the arrested 936 DUI suspects, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. During the same period in 2016, CHP arrested 767 people; 2017 represented a 22 percent increase from the previous year.
Thanksgiving weekend, the CHP arrested 1,057 people, up from 902 in 2016, according to the article. During Christmas weekend, 917 DUI arrests, compared with 621 in 2016.
“Any time you see a rise it’s concerning, especially when we look at fatalities, because that’s somebody’s loved one,” said CHP Officer John Fransen. “But the sheer number of arrests that are made, to see roughly 1,000 people arrested in every single maximum enforcement period, it’s disheartening.”