Holidays lead to increased drinking and more police patrols

For many people, celebrating holidays and consuming alcoholic beverages go hand in hand. Office parties, costume parties and even family get-togethers can inspire people to down a few beers, glasses of wine or cocktails. Unfortunately, this way of celebrating the holiday season, from Halloween to New Years Eve, can result in traffic collisions.

In order to prevent people from losing loved ones to intoxication-related vehicle crashes, law enforcement try to enforce drunk driving laws more uniformly around the holidays. This can include sobriety checkpoints or just a lot more patrol officers on the lookout for signs of impaired driving. The idea is to keep the holidays happy, instead of a season filled with tragic and preventable car accidents.

Enforcement is a Pennsylvania holiday tradition

For several years now, Pennsylvania law enforcement officials have been open with the public about increased enforcement efforts around holiday weekends. The holidays they target include Halloween, Fourth of July, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Holiday parties are meant to be fun, not a source of public danger. Unfortunately, when parties flood out onto the streets when the fun is over, other people on the road get put at increased risk of a crash. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can definitely cramp the way you intended to celebrate the holidays. Your best options after a party always involve riding with a sober driver, calling for a taxi or scheduling a Lyft on your phone.

Penalties for DUI charges are harsh in Pennsylvania

When you get arrested for a DUI offense, you're risking more than just a night in the drunk tank. Under new state laws, even first time DUI offenders can face serious consequences. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than 0.09 percent, you could end up ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. That's on top of fines, losing your license and potential jail time or community service.

IIDs require that you provide a breath sample before you can start your car. They ensure that those who struggle with intoxicated driving won't be able to start their cars. However, an IID can also be a source of humiliation. Your friends, family and co-workers will see the device in your car. That could result in your not getting invited to that rocking holiday party next year.

Beyond the embarrassment, a conviction on a DUI offense could cost you a lot. Your employer may have a zero tolerance policy for criminal convictions, and finding a new job can be more difficult when you have a criminal record. Your best option is to avoid a DUI conviction by having safe travel arrangements any time you're headed to a party where you know there will be alcohol.

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