BUFFALO, N.Y. – Millions of college hoops fans are scratching off the losses and circling the wins on their brackets this time of year. It’s estimated that over $2 billion will be waged on the 64 team tournament. Millions of dollars will also be spent battling drunk driving.
Police agencies across the country are planning to have extra patrols or DWI/DUI checkpoints throughout the tournament, which lasts until April 6th.
“Whenever there’s a big sporting event like the college basketball tournament, statistics show there tend to be more drunk drivers on the road in cities like Buffalo,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It’s incredibly important for drivers to raise their awareness this week.”
Drunk driving patrols are most often widespread across a county or police jurisdiction but police also put extra focus around college and university campuses. For schools that have teams in the race for the national championship, statistics have shown that the number of drinkers can spike before, during and after that school’s game.
“It’s okay to have a good time but if you’re not careful and responsible, a good night can change instantly because of a drunk driver,” Cellino said. “About one in five accidents are caused by drunk drivers and these crashes increase on Friday and Saturday nights.”
Police say getting a safe ride home is easier than ever before due to the number of taxi services available, including the recent emergence of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Car accident lawyers say a busted bracket hopefully won’t cost you all that much cash but a DUI arrest can cost a driver thousands of dollars in fees.