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It's logical that when traffic increases, so do traffic accidents. Other factors like inclement weather conditions and rush hour traffic can also affect the collision rate. But perhaps the single greatest contributor to highway accidents is drunk driving.

Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that in one five-year period, approximately 36 people died every day here in America in collisions involving a drunken driver. The winter holidays, a time when alcohol consumption goes through the roof, are peak times for drunk driving collisions, with the daily average jumping to 45 over Christmas. The rate then further skyrockets to 54 fatalities per day during the New Year's holidays.

This holiday season, you can certainly expect extra personnel from the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement districts to be out patrolling the freeways and surface streets, looking for impaired drivers. Arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) peak in the weeks between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Year's Day. Social drinkers often binge on alcohol without realizing how intoxicated they've become. If they attempt to operate a motor vehicle in that condition, disaster can result.

It's far better to avoid a charge of DUI than to have to defend one. If you're drinking, don't plan on driving. Arrange to ride with a sober friend or call a taxi or a ride-sharing service.

If you do wind up getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, remember that your first goal is safety. Don't give the officer any reason to suspect that you are armed or otherwise a threat to him or her. But your cooperation stops far short of self-incrimination. Politely decline to take any field sobriety tests and ask to speak to a criminal defense attorney before answering any questions from the police.

Source: BAC Track, "The Most Dangerous Times on the Roads," Sheyanne N Romero, accessed Dec. 20, 2017

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