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Thanksgiving Eve is a Big Night of Overindulgence.
It’s Not the Food, It’s the Booze
PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 21, 2017) –– As everyone knows, the day after Thanksgiving Day is called “Black Friday.” It is the busiest retail shopping day of the year. Few people realize, however, that the day before Thanksgiving Day is dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving” in some circles. Thanksgiving Eve is unofficially called one of the busiest days of the year for high alcohol consumption or binge drinking by college students who are home for the holiday.
“While Thanksgiving Day is a time to share meals with our loved ones, the eve of Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous times for overindulgence in alcohol – not food,” says Jana Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While we disapprove of and fear drunk drivers on the road, a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that far too many drivers aren’t practicing what they preach. There is a big disconnect in our actions and words.”
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (2016) reports nearly all drivers (97 percent) disapprove of drinking and driving, however, more than one in eight drivers admit to driving at least once in the past year when they thought their alcohol level might be close to or possibly over the legal limit,
The Thanksgiving weekend accounts for more than 400 traffic deaths each year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), in 2016 there were 4,531 crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period in Pennsylvania and 54 fatalities.
More cars on the road for the holidays mean more crashes warns AAA Mid-Atlantic. This year, AAA projects 45.5 million people are traveling by car to celebrate Thanksgiving with family or friends, including 530,000 Philadelphia five-county area residents.
Law enforcement officials and traffic safety advocates cite three over-arching factors in the spike in DUI/DWI-related traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:
- Heavy traffic. Thanksgiving Day is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday.
- The domino effect of holiday revelry and bar crawls when college students are home for the holiday.
- During the holidays, 45 people are killed by intoxicated motorists a day, compared to 28 each day.
AAA recommends the following to help keep you safe this Thanksgiving holiday:
- Consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic, if possible.
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year.
- Never let friends drive if they have had too much alcohol to drink.
- Designate a safe and sober driver before the party begins. If you don’t have a designated driver, plan to call a cab or a ride share, or use public transportation.
AAA works year-round to educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving in an effort to reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.