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DUI Offender Drinking Jumps 54% on Thanksgiving Day

Courts clamp down on Hardcore Drunk Drivers during the holidays

DENVER, Nov. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New data on repeat, high-risk drunk drivers ordered to be monitored continuously for drinking shows that violations increase an average of 54% on Thanksgiving Day. The holiday, now considered one of the deadliest for alcohol-related fatalities by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is second only to New Year's Eve/Day, when violations jump 62%.

The numbers are consistent with data from a number of organizations, including the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which estimates that two to three times more people die as a result of alcohol-involved crashes during the holidays than any other time during the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 1,200 people will be killed and 25,000 will be injured between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day in traffic accidents caused by alcohol.

The data was compiled by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which has monitored more than 258,000 Hardcore Drunk Drivers for compliance with court-mandated sobriety. The company has launched their annual public awareness campaign, Sober Days for the Holidays, to educate courts and communities about the increased risks their data trending shows. "Those drinking violations are for offenders who know they are being tested, who know they will be caught and who know there will be consequences, possibly even jail time," says Mike Iiams, chairman and CEO of AMS. "Now imagine what offenders who aren't monitored are doing."

Courts clamp down from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day
AMS reports that the trend each year is for courts to increase supervision during the holidays by enforcing Sober Days, which are defined as a 24-hour period where continuous testing confirms no drinking and no attempt to circumvent testing. Company data shows that the average number of offenders monitored daily jumps during the holidays, as courts and agencies work to contain the risks that alcohol and the holidays pose to communities.

The AMS technology is known as SCRAMx, and it tests an offender's perspiration 48 times a day to measure for drinking. The testing frequency is what allows courts to confirm Sober Days for the highest-risk offenders.

According to The Century Council, 75% of Hardcore Drunk Drivers are assessed as alcohol-dependent and cause 57% of fatal accidents related to alcohol. "Holidays mean family stress, work stress, financial stress—and they all hit simultaneously," says Iiams. "Add an endless list of social temptations, and someone with a drinking problem, who naturally turns to alcohol to cope with stress, is going to struggle this time of year."

According to Iiams, in 2011, courts in 48 states supervised 598,077 Sober Days for Hardcore Drunk Drivers between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The Century Council defines a Hardcore Drunk Drivers as those who drive at high BACs (0.15 or above), do so repeatedly as demonstrated by having more than one drunk driving arrest, and are highly resistant to changing their behavior despite previous sanctions, treatment, or education. Iiams says that even with the jump in drinking violations, which averages 24% over the entire 41 day holiday season, in 2011, on average 99.37% of the drunk drivers they monitored were completely sober on any given day. "That means testing confirmed that 99.37% of those high-risk offenders were not drinking, and they were not drinking and driving," he says.

AMS encourages everyone to make a plan for getting home safely before you leave, rather than deciding how to get home after you've been drinking. In addition, law enforcement agencies throughout the country will be running roadside sobriety checkpoints beginning Monday, including the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS)
Established in 1997, AMS is the world's largest provider of Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) technology. AMS manufactures SCRAMx, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption and integrates home detention monitoring into a single anklet. SCRAMx fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing courts and community corrections agencies with the ability to continuously monitor alcohol offenders, increase offender accountability and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. AMS employs 126 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.

SOURCE Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.

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