At Christmas, there is nothing like the sound of jingling bells to get everyone in the festive mood, especially in California where there is no snow to remind people of this winter holiday. Few people know now, but the holiday song Jingle Bells actually may have had its roots in a drinking song that folks sang while sleigh racing. These days, drunken sleigh races would be more likely to win you a DUI arrest. 

California takes impaired driving very seriously, especially during the holidays. For the past few years, California Highway Patrol officers have held maximum enforcement periods over the major holiday weekends to keep the roads safer. Especially during the nighttime driving hours, additional officers patrol the roads to ensure that safety concerns like speeding and impaired driving do not slip through the cracks. 

When is maximum enforcement in place? 

This year, maximum enforcement for the Christmas holiday began on December 13 and will continue through New Year’s Day. Across the state, nearly 1,000 drivers faced a DUI arrest during just the Christmas weekend alone in both 2018 and 2017. Time will tell if this year’s enforcement period creates the same DUI consequences for as many people. 

Which holiday is the most dangerous? 

Nationwide, New Year’s was the deadliest holiday for driving incidents. However, the Fourth of July came in second for the number of car accident fatalities, especially those involving drug or alcohol-impaired drivers. Thanksgiving is the next most dangerous time to be on the road. Two other summer holidays, Memorial Day and Labor Day, had around the same number of alcohol-related deaths as the Christmas holiday weekend. 

No matter when you are driving, do not let the potential of a DUI arrest ruin your holiday season. Whenever you plan to enjoy the season with a drink, arrange for a designated driver or other transportation situation so that you avoid a DUI situation.