There have been a few circulations of a claim that more DUIs occur the morning after drinking on certain holidays versus the night of drinking. The idea is that DUIs obtained by unsuspecting people who have slept and then chose to drive the morning after thinking their system is free of alcohol outnumber DUIs obtained by those who drive home that same night. For example:


Is there any empirical evidence to support this claim?

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    This links to one statement on Reddit, which does not make it a notable claim. Can you add more links (to more reliable sources) that show that this is a real claim? Also make sure what we are talking about: the actual driving under influence or the number of arrests/tickets because of DUI.
    – user22865
    Sep 2, 2016 at 6:51
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    @JanDoggen: 4.3 thousand upvotes makes it somewhat notable, surely? However, I share your concern that it is vague. The claim is about NYE only, but the question doesn't mention that. Crime statistics are going to be strongly influenced by police presence. Near miss answer - fatalities in Alcohol Influence Driving incidents peak between midnight and 3am. The "next morning" is much safer.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 2, 2016 at 8:18
  • Upvotes on Reddit, FaceBook and many social media sites don't say anything about notability, it's just how juicy/sexy people think the subject is (notability is only one reason in that set)
    – user22865
    Sep 2, 2016 at 8:36
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    Location and, specifically, the local limits on blood alcohol level are also likely to be a factor in whether this is true or not. (I've seen plenty of people in Sweden, where the limit is 0.02%, saying "I shouldn't drink because I have to drive tomorrow", but I've never encountered anything similar in the US, where the limit is somewhat higher.) Sep 2, 2016 at 12:24
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    @JanDoggen From the FAQ, "Claims put forward by a celebrity are also automatically considered notable. The idea here is that once a large number of people are exposed to the claim, it is of general interest to validate the claim and either confirm or refute it." Likes/upvotes are a sign of widespread exposure. Reliable sources are not required. Popular ones are. If you think that we should define notability differently, perhaps post on Meta for discussion?
    – Brythan
    Sep 2, 2016 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


I couldn't find anything about the US as a whole, but there are statistics for DUI (or DWI, among other acronyms) arrests for smaller parts of the US by time of day. (For information about the difference between a DUI arrest and a DUI ticket, see this site.)

There are different potential interpretations of what "the morning after" is (for example, the period between midnight and noon), but the intended interpretation is probably, as you said, "people who have slept and then chose to drive the morning after". While there's no way to tell who went to sleep (and who didn't) before their DUI arrest, a reasonable guess can be made. Although alcohol affects sleep, I would expect most people, after a night of partying, to not be awake and out driving until 5am or (much) later. (Reasoning: Most Americans leave for work between 7 and 8am. Plus, 5am is always before dawn at my latitude, with sunrise today, New Year's Day, being ~7:30am. 5am is probably overly early, but the same conclusions apply if you pick a later time.) There are very, very few DUI arrests that happen between 5am and noon, much fewer than 8pm to midnight or midnight to 3am/4am (and that also includes anyone who woke up sober, got drunk, and then drove their way to a DUI arrest sometime between 5am and noon).

Pacific Beach, CA:

(This graph starts at 6pm.)

Alcohol License Policies and Issues in Pacific Beach

San Antonio, TX (San Antonio PD):

Problem Identification and Community Assessment of DWI Needs for Bexar County, Texas

Denver, Colorado (Denver PD):

(Possible error in graph labeling: 3-4am hour missing)

2016: DUI crimes, by time of day

The Denver Post


(This graph is backwards; read it chronologically from right to left.)

Nearly 3,400 persons completed the DUI Offender Survey across classes for persons with a DUI across the state of Montana.

DUI Offender Survey Report – 2008

Washington DC (Washington Metropolitan PD):

(This graph only displays 8pm to 5am.)

The data set contains information on all arrests made between 1998 and 2007...

A few key patterns are apparent; (1) most DUI arrests take place between 10 pm and 3 am on Thursday through Saturday evenings, (2) alcohol related arrests peek at 8 pm and again around 2am, and (3) the time profile of DUI and alcohol related arrests on Friday and Saturdays are much better tracked by movements on Thursdays that any other day of the week.

One for the Road: Public Transportation, Alcohol Consumption, and Intoxicated Driving

Otsego County, New York:

2010 Otsego County STOP DWI Annual Report

More data:

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