Southern Residents in states such as Florida, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina all know when spring break arrives. Lines of traffic flood in and around the beaches, while crowds of reveling college students pack the local bars. The height of spring break is in and around St. Patrick’s day and the NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament. It is estimated over 40 percent of college students travel to “the Sunshine states” for their annual week of sun worship and revelry. In particular, the idea of spending spring break in sunny South Florida has been attributed to a college swim coach who decided Fort Lauderdale was the perfect warm place for his team to stay in shape for their upcoming season. Everyone wants to have fun. The key though is to do it safely.
Unfortunately, spring break has a dark side. A large minority of young college women and a majority of young college men get drunk on a daily basis. Additionally, some participate in using illegal drugs. In fact, the data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicated during spring break “binge drinking” goes to the extreme.
Impairment is always a major factor in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Recently in the Wellington, Florida area, a young 18-year-old who was impaired drove his car at a high rate of speed. He crashed into another vehicle killing the occupant. During the break, impairment becomes an even more significant contributor. It causes people to fall down, drown, get into fights, and other serious predicaments that cause personal injury.
While there are no definitive rankings, certain US cities have experienced a higher incidence of drinking-related crimes. Here are a few examples:
Panama City Beach, Florida
This popular destination has been the site of numerous incidents during spring break, including fights, alcohol-related injuries, and sexual assaults.
Miami Beach, Florida
This city has had to deal with large crowds and partygoers during spring break, leading to incidents such as traffic congestion, noise complaints, and violence.
South Padre Island, Texas
This beach town has seen an increase in crime during spring break, including drug-related offenses, fights, and property damage.
Las Vegas, Nevada
While not traditionally considered a spring break destination, Las Vegas attracts a large number of college students during this time. Incidents that have occurred during spring break include underage drinking, DUIs, and disorderly conduct.
City officials and Police departments do an excellent job in making sure that most situations are well controlled. Local ordinances are enforced, but sometimes no matter what you do, you can be a victim of someone else’s stupidity. If for whatever reason you are involved in an accident caused by a drunk and/or impaired driver, or involved in any incident that is alcohol or drug related – Don’t hesitate to call the Snowbird Helpline immediately.