Early morning DUI's on the rise

During your morning commute or daily errands, you probably don't think about it.

But Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Sonny Collins says day time is slowly becoming prime time for drunk drivers.

"Previously DUI's were found almost exclusively on the weekends and at night. Now we're having DUI arrest anytime of the day any day of the week," said Collins. "Just the other week, we arrested a woman on 501 at 12 o'clock on a Friday afternoon."

A majority of offenders drink all night at establishments, sleep and then wake up not realizing they're still intoxicated, said Collins.

"They think because they've had an hour or two of sleep in there, they're back to zero. They're back good. When, in fact, that impairment is still there. It takes hours to get all of that out of your system."

But rehab center director John Coffin said bars serving drinks to people at all hours isn't entirely to blame.

"The simple explanation is that people are not working, and when people don't have a lot to do, it means they are going to be drinking more, which makes it more common to see them drinking at hours we wouldn't normally see them drinking," said Coffin.

His rehab center, Shoreline Behavioral Health Service, has seen the number of DUI cases spike in the past three years.

Until the economy changes, he expects that trend to continue, he said.

"There's plenty of research that says that if you go without a job for an appreciable amount of time, especially if you're going out on a bunch of interviews and you're not getting hired, it's not uncommon for people to feel kind of worthless and that can create all kinds of other symptoms."

Symptoms that mean there's really no safe time to be on the road when it comes to drunk drivers.

Highway Patrol arrested more than 4,000 people in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand alone for drunk driving in 2011.