From Blackout Wednesday to New Year's Day: Be on the lookout for drunk drivers this holiday season
Whether you're attending a holiday celebration, traveling to visit loved ones, or embarking on your holiday shopping, be careful out there this holiday season.
Individually, the major fall and winter holidays may not top the Fourth of July when it comes to the average rate of drunk driving fatalities, but they are still significantly high. According to ValuePenguin, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day ranked significantly lower than the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day in terms of drunk driving fatalities.
During the current holiday period that starts the day before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year's Day, Kansas drivers are at an elevated risk of being involved in a DUI-related crash. That is more than at any other time of year.
It all begins with Blackout Wednesday
Also known as Thanksgiving Eve, Blackout Wednesday is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. It comes close to St. Patrick's Day and Super Bowl Sunday. It's the day when everyone leaves work early to catch up with old friends at bars and pubs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there have been more than 800 traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving period (between 6 p.m. Blackout Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. the following Monday) from 2012-2016.
December holiday parties
Once Thanksgiving comes to a close, Kansas residents start gearing up for all the other holiday events that occur during the month of December. People attend holiday work parties, family gatherings, and other festivities that may involve drinking.
According to a Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers, roughly 16 percent of adults have admitted that they tend to drink more during the holiday season than any other time of year. In addition, 22 percent have felt pressured to drink at holiday work parties. Another 50 percent say that drinking plays a role in family gatherings.
Christmas to New Year's Day
In 2018, approximately 1,087 fatal crashes occurred between Christmas Day and New Year's Day across the United States. The NHTSA forecasts that we will see 799 fatalities during the same period in 2019.
The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and loved ones. It's not a time to spend recovering from an injury or mourning the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, serious and fatal crashes are inevitable this time of year. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to keep drunk drivers off the road, many of them still go under the radar.
Drunk driving crashes are, however, preventable. They can be avoided this holiday season simply by planning ahead. Those who plan on going out for a night of drinking on Blackout Wednesday, attending a holiday work party, or celebrating the major holidays while consuming alcohol should be prepared to leave the keys behind.
There are plenty of safety options besides getting behind the wheel, including:
- Hailing a taxi, Uber or Lyft
- Spending the night
- Having a sober friend drive you home
- Getting home on foot, if within walking distance
The car accident attorneys at Warner Law Offices urge everyone to stay safe this holiday season and drive responsibly. If you're hurt in a crash, contact our legal team to explore the legal options available to you. We're dedicated to helping injured motorists — and their families — in the greater Wichita area seek the justice they deserve.
You can contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation or call our law office at (316) 269-2500.