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Holiday Drinking and Driving


DUI season officially starts on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and doesn't end until after New Year's Day - also a time considered to be the "holiday season." The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Wednesday" or "Blackout Wednesday," is a popular time to drink, as college kids are home from school, relatives are visiting, and no one has to get up and go to work the next day. December also happens to be National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. It seems that many people drink during these couple of months due to various celebrations, parties, and family gatherings taking place. Take a look at common holidays (not those just presented in winter months) that produce numerous DUI citations and fatalities.

New Year's Day

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, New Year's Day is the second most deadly day of the year for drivers. Based on statics gathered by IIHS, there was an average of 140 deaths between 2002 and 2008 on this holiday, with 42 percent being attributed to drunk driving. This also happens to be a dangerous day for pedestrians. Though the drinking festivities may begin the night before, many end up up drinking well past midnight, putting them on the road during the early morning hours of New Year's Day.

Thanksgiving Eve

As stated, the evening before Thanksgiving is a very popular night for drinking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2000 to 2009, 5,521 people died in car accidents nationwide over the Thanksgiving holiday period. 36 percent of those deaths were a result of drunk driving, while other factors behind crashes included speeding and tired drivers. The term "Black Wednesday" is actually associated with people consuming so much alcohol that they enter a blacked-out state on Thanksgiving Eve. Many people (not just those who or going to or leaving the bar) travel during this time, making the roads quite crowded.

Fourth of July

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 over the Fourth of July weekend were caused by drunk driving. As this is a popular day for picnics, barbeques, and family functions, alcohol is usually included in the mix. Cops are known for being out thick during this holiday weekend, enforcing the law quite rigorously and setting up various DUI checkpoints.

Other holidays noted for heavy DUI occurrences include: Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, as well as St. Patrick's Day and Halloween (specifically, when the latter two fall on a Friday or Saturday).

Stay Safe-Don't Drink and Drive

No matter what the holiday may be, if you plan on consuming even one adult beverage, then don't drive. If you know for a fact that you'll be drinking, you should plan ahead. Try finding a designated driver for the evening. Other options that will help you stay safe for the night include: calling a cab, renting a room, or phoning a relative or friend to come and get you. Not only do you want to avoid driving, but you also need to be conscious of getting into a vehicle with someone else who has been drinking. Riding with a drunk driver can yield the same consequences as if you were operating the car yourself.

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