As millions of Americans prepare to travel on U.S. roads to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its partners are appealing to travelers to drive sober.
NHTSA statistics show that between 2013 and 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol impaired driving collisions during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it one of the deadliest holiday on the roads. The holiday is so closely associated with binge drinking that it has been referred to on social media as “Drinksgiving”. The day before Thanksgiving has been referred to as “Blackout Wednesday”.
In an effort to counteract the trend, NHTSA and its partners are urging everyone to spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving. As part of its Thanksgiving safe driving campaign, NHTSA will post on social media using the hashtag #BoycottBlackoutWednesday to discourage driving drunk. The hashtag #DitchDanksgiving will also be used, in reference to the term “Danksgiving”, which relates to marijuana use over the Thanksgiving weekend.
NHTSA urges drivers to take the following precautions this Thanksgiving:
- Plan ahead and designate a sober driver beforehand
- Use public transportation, a taxi, a ride share service, or your community’s sober ride program to get home safely
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for IOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement
- Whether riding or driving, always wear your seat belt