Thanksgiving Now Rivals New Years Eve For Drinking And Driving
According to a American Automobile Association (AAA) news release, the evening before thanksgiving is a dangerous time to be on the road. And now accompanying the holiday in general is a sharp increase in alcohol-related crashes and deaths. The company says that the trend is beginning to give New Year’s Eve a run for its money, in terms of drinking and driving and associated traffic accidents.
The auto club also noted that this trend is particularly high among college-aged adults who get together with friends back in their hometowns while on break. Disturbingly, the evening before Thanksgiving has become known as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving.”
Bob Kazmierczak, AAA spokesman, cited the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey finding that 1 in 8 drivers admitted to drinking and driving in the past year. He also noted:
“We fear drunk drivers, but we don’t practice what we preach. There is a big disconnect in our actions and words.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) national data reveals that there were 160 fatal car accidents in 2015 on Thanksgiving Day and the evening before. More than half of those involved drivers with the miminum blood-alcohol content of .08 or above.
That’s also similar to the figure from the year before. Both 2014 and 2015 were higher in total than New Year’s Eve, but then again, New Year’s Eve is only observed for one night.
According to MADD’s data, the most impairment-related deaths due to car accidents last year was Halloween.
Of note, AAA also predicts that holiday travel will be at its highest since 2007 due to low gas prices. The sheer numbers of drivers on the road will likely influence the number of drunk driving incidents and car crashes.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology