Health dept. warns against impaired driving ahead of holiday


As Thanksgiving approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Union County Safe and Sound Coalition to encourage sober driving throughout the holidays.
A popular trend during the Thanksgiving holiday, called “Blackout Wednesday,” encourages the heavy consumption of alcohol on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Today, NHTSA and its partners are conducting a social media blitz with the hashtag, #BoycottBlackoutWednesday. Online platforms will feature messages to raise awareness and encourage positive actions that reduce impaired driving.
“Drunk driving is a real threat to our community every day and that threat increases during holidays like Thanksgiving,” said Chelcie Beadnell, Safe and Sound Coalition Chair and health educator at the Union County Health Department.
“Blackout Wednesday is a dangerous trend,” she said. “Driving under the influence is deadly and illegal and no one should ever take that risk.”
According to data from NHTSA, crashes related to drunk driving spike during the Thanksgiving season.
From 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period. This number reflects one of the deadliest holidays on the roadways.
In 2017, more than one out of every three traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
The Safe and Sound Coalition advises those who know they’ll be drinking to plan ahead for a sober ride home.
Tips to prepare for a safe night include:
– Remember that it is never O.K. to drive impaired. Even if you’ve only had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver.
– Plan to use a ride sharing service or public transportation.
– If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement agencies.
– Take the keys away from friends or family members who are about to drink and drive and help make arrangements to get them home.

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