Plan for a sober ride this Hobo Week and Halloween

Wade Oorlog, University Law Enforcement Supervisor

This Hobo Week and Halloween, the SDSU Police Department, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety-Office of Highway Safety and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want to remind everyone that buzzed driving is drunk driving. 

Drivers should be extra cautious during this time, as more pedestrians are out at night. If your night involves drinking, please make sure you plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and drive.

Because of the parties, trick-or-treating and other festivities, Hobo Day and Halloween night can be dangerous on our roads. During Hobo Week from October 21 to 24, 2021, there were 22 individuals charged with DUI booked in at the Brookings County Detention Center. The SDSU Police Department made 5 impaired driving arrests and issued over 70 citations for underage alcohol violations during the week. On Halloween in South Dakota, between 2017 to 2021, there were 42 drunk or drugged-driving crashes with 4 fatalities crashes, 17 injuries crashes, with one injury crash involving a pedestrian/pedal cyclist.

While you are making your party plans, you should also plan for a sober ride home. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Remember: buzzed driving is drunk driving.

Tragically, about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations at or above .08 grams per deciliter). In South Dakota in 2021 from 01/01/21 to 12/31/21, there were 58 people killed and 794 people injured in drunk or drugged driving crashes. Do not contribute to these senseless deaths by driving drunk this Hobo Day and Halloween. 

Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians — whether they’re children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to surroundings can put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

We want our community to have a safe and fun Hobo Day and Halloween, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices. 

In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they’ve been drinking. We expect drivers to refrain from driving after drinking.

Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. The costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license, your vehicle and pay up to $10,000 or more in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates and lost wages.