With nicknames like “Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving,” the night before Thanksgiving has developed a reputation for heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking. Unfortunately, that trend isn’t isolated to the evening before the holiday.
Unusually heavy traffic and the effects of holiday revelry and bar crawls are recognized as the biggest culprits behind the increase in drunk driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period. In addition to alcohol, use of illegal drugs, prescription medications and over-the-counter medications can impair driving.
Heavy consumption of alcohol and drugs is prevalent throughout the holiday weekend, leading to an increased risk of impaired driving crashes on already-crowded roadways.
“With more than 49 million Americans projected to be on the roadways during the long holiday weekend, those choosing to drive impaired are not only endangering themselves, but millions of others as well,” says Rylie Fletcher, manager of public and government affairs, AAA Oklahoma.
More than 830 people died nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver over the Thanksgiving holiday period ― Wednesday through Sunday ― from 2017 to 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Drivers involved in fatal crashes during nighttime hours are four times as likely to be impaired compared to those involved in daytime fatal crashes.
Impaired driving also endangers the lives of law enforcement, tow truck operators, emergency response teams and others working at the side of the road.
“It’s never OK to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are buzzed, drunk or otherwise impaired,” Fletcher added. “The risk of injury or death for yourself, passengers and others on the roadway is not worth it, especially when there are options for you to get home safely. AAA wants everyone to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their friends and family, and not have to deal with the horrific devastation caused by impaired driving.”
Source: AAA press release