Memorial Day weekend is a time for barbeques, spending time with family and friends, and taking time out of our busy schedules in order to remember those who have fought for our country. The California Highway Patrol, however, looks at it as a time of increased arrests for DUI (CA Penal Code §23152), as numbers for this type of arrest usually go up around holidays such as this. However, despite one crash in San Mateo County at a Hillside Boulevard cemetery that ended the lives of three people, DUI arrests were down this year. Of course, the number only went down by one – the CHP report suggests that there were 166 arrests last year and only 165 arrests this year.
This begs an important question: are officers in the California Highway Patrol looking for people to arrest on DUI charges or do more people actually drive while intoxicated during this particular holiday? In the case of 25-year-old Paul Diaz, whose Ford Mustang ran into another Ford, causing Ruvin Vazquez, Jonathan Mouton, and Rosa Falla to careen into a nearby cemetery, cutting the car in half, there was no evidence at the scene to suggest that either alcohol or drugs were related to the accident. First, it occurred at around 7:30 a.m. and, second, Diaz turned himself into the police.
So, although Memorial Day, amongst other holidays, may be a time during which individuals consume more alcohol, it is also likely that the CHP also allow themselves to assume that many accidents that occur during that particular time frame are alcohol-related when, in fact, they are not.