While some think of holidays like the night before Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day, where people get together and drinking is common, as the worst nights for DUI, another dangerous night is Halloween.
That’s because it’s the night when children and young people go out trick-or treating, explained Philly Sheriff Jewell Williams, and the most common night when pedestrians are injured by drunk drivers.
“We’re looking at a specific issues that plague our children, and we’re looking at Halloween,” Williams said. “If the kids don’t get hit, then an adult gets hit because the adults trying to protect the kids.”
To make the streets a little safer on All Hallow’s Eve, the Sheriff’s office conducted an overnight raid from 2 to 8 a.m. on Oct. 31 – arresting twelve individuals who had outstanding warrants for driving under the influence.
“That’s twelve that would be out in the street,” Williams said. “That vehicle he is driving becomes a weapon – 3,000 pounds, at 60 miles per hour. So we’re saving lives.”
Out of the 12, three had past criminal records including arrests for burglary and narcotics charges, and four had records including charges for violent crimes ranging from rape to aggravated assault.
“If a person has an outstanding DUI warrant and doesn’t show up for court, then they’re at risk, because they’re not dealing with their alcoholism,” Williams said. “If you go to court, the courts offer you some kind of program to help you through your alcoholism or opiate problems. … When you don’t show up in court, then you will never know about the programs, that will save you and save the public.”
Nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44 percent of fatal car crashes on Halloween from 2012 to 2016 involved a drunk driver, and 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved impaired drivers.
In Pennsylvania alone, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween from 2012 to 2016 involved an intoxicated driver.
Approximately 10,000 people die every year in the U.S. in drunk-driving crashes, roughly 29 people a day.