The grocery store lines are growing, the highway traffic is picking up, and the holiday sale advertisements are taking over the airways, all signs that the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching. Like many of you, we are looking forward to sharing food and building memories with friends and families. Our Oakland accident law firm wants to help everyone arrive safe and sound. With that goal in mind, we want to discuss the growing danger of holiday drunk driving accidents, specifically the time that has come to be called “Blackout Wednesday.”
Thanksgiving Weekend and “Blackout Wednesday”
While it may come as a surprise to many, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most dangerous periods on U.S. roadways. When the Wall Street Journal discussed the matter back in 2011, they cited some disturbing statistics. In four of the five years prior to the article, there were more drunk driving related fatalities during Thanksgiving weekend than the New Year’s Eve holiday. Likewise, the article cited a conversation with the coordinator of DUI-enforcement in Pennsylvania who said that from 2PM-7PM the roads are filled with travelers but the make-up of the traffic changes by 10PM or 11PM. He reported that his state saw 197 DUI arrests over Christmas weekend 2010, 267 arrests over New Year’s, and a whopping 412 DUI arrests during the Thanksgiving holiday.
So, what is “Blackout Wednesday” specifically? As reported in the WSJ article cited above and in an AARP Bulletin released this week, it is the new moniker given to the night before Thanksgiving because of the rising culture of excess drinking by young adults and college students. Both groups return home for the holiday and, sometimes before their families can blink, run out the door to catch up with high school friends at a party or local bar. Binge drinking at these “see and be seen” occasions is a major factor in the increase in drunk driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday. In 2010, the holiday weekend saw a 30% spike in alcohol-involved accidents compared with the rest of the year.
How Parents Can Help Prevent DUI Accidents
AARP emphasizes that parents can have an influence and help prevent binge drinking among young adults and the college set. Parents who talk about alcohol and its dangers throughout the year have children who drink less, both at holidays and year-round. While our focus is on preventing drunk driving, alcohol can also lead to health risks, lasting cognitive impairment, academic problems, and an increased risk of sexual assault. Many associate binge drinking with college students, incidents actually peak in the 21-25 year age range and remain high until around age 30. Continued conversations between parents and adult children can save lives as can suggesting “protective behaviors” like avoiding drinking games, alternating between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water, and planning for a designated driver. Simply asking “How do you plan to get home” before your child heads out for the night can make a real difference.
Our Family’s Dedication to Helping Yours
Use caution on the roads over the holiday, watching out for impaired drivers and making sure you and your loved ones don’t drink and drive. If you do become the victim of a drunk driver this weekend or anytime during the year, our Northern California DUI injury law firm in Oakland, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco can help protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office 24/7 to arrange a free consultation with our experienced injury lawyer.
(Image by Jennifer Gaillard)