The night before Thanksgiving is a time for many people to gather in their hometowns and celebrate the official start of the festive fall season. On Thanksgiving Eve, also known as “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday,” there is an increase in the overconsumption of alcohol. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Eufaula Police Department, Checotah Police Department, and the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office to make sure you make it to the Thanksgiving table.
Before you head out to the parties on Thanksgiving Eve, it’s essential to take some time to remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If your plans to celebrate include alcohol, plan for a sober driver.
“It is critical that anyone heading out to a bar or party take precaution and plan for a sober driver to see them home safely,” said Eufaula Police Chief David Bryning.
“Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving Eve celebration has become a particularly dangerous night on the roads. We want our drivers to take this night seriously. This is a dangerous trend. Driving drunk is deadly, and no one should ever take that risk.”
NHTSA data shows that 13,384 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved alcohol- impaired drivers in 2021. This represented 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States for the year, and a 14.2% increase from 2020. From November 2017 to November 2021, 137 drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol impaired. In 2021 alone, 36 drivers were alcohol-impaired in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve. During those same years in November, young drivers ages 2124 represented the largest percentage (44%) of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve.
As holiday parties increase during this festive season, do not contribute to these senseless deaths by driving drunk. This is why the Eufaula Police Department, Checotah Police Department, and the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is a matter of life and death. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
“The idea of Blackout Wednesday is really a shame,” said Chief Bryning. “We understand that people want to have a good time, but memories should last a lifetime, not be over before they start. We want everyone to make it to the Thanksgiving table. Please, if you plan to be out drinking, make a plan for a safe ride home.”
Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. And the costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.
No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drunk driving. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — you might be saving their life, or someone else’s. Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you may already be too impaired to make the right choices.
There are plenty of options to help impaired drivers get home safely, such as designating a sober driver. If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate to contact local Law Enforcement.
By working together, we can save lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. Please join us in sharing the lifesaving message Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving during the holiday weekend.
For more information, please visit https://www. nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/ drunk-driving.