Chances are you're busily preparing for Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. Just be sure you're also prepared for "Blackout Wednesday," too.
Blackout Wednesday, as it's called by police and emergency personnel, refers to the night before Thanksgiving and reflects the heartbreaking fact that it's consistently the most dangerous night of the holiday season. Statistics from multiple safety-focused agencies show that it's the busiest night of the year for bars and nightclubs nationwide – bigger than St. Patrick's Day and even New Year's Eve in many places. As a result, it's also one of the year's busiest nights for first responders and emergency room medical staff working drunken driving accidents
Consider these statistics:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, 728 people are injured or killed in drunk-driving crashes each day during the holiday season.
- Those figures back statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction showing that between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, some 1,200 are killed and 25,000 are injured in alcohol-involved accidents.
- During the holiday season, 40 percent of highway deaths are related to alcohol, compared to 31 percent the rest of the year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
- And, AAA says one in eight licensed drivers who consume alcohol admit they've driven even when they believed their blood-alcohol level was .08 or higher.
Help keep your family safe by celebrating the holidays without alcohol. If you enjoy a cocktail or two, make sure to arrange for a non-drinking designated driver, keep the phone number to a local taxi service handy, or stay put for the night.
If you or your loved ones are injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver, report the incident to the police and get medical treatment, even if the damage or injuries seem minor. Then, call 877-798-7700 to speak with an auto accident attorney with Gainesville's Schackow & Mercadante.
From all of us to all of you, have a safe and happy holiday season.