In Public Health, Safe Routes, Safety

Every year around the holidays, there is a sharp spike in drunk driving injuries and fatalities. This year, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 500 people will die on U.S. roads.  Thanksgiving 2021 is projected to see the most deaths since 2007.  One reason may be the drinking culture around holidays.  For example, the biggest drinking nights during Thanksgiving week is “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving,” when many people engage in binge drinking or consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short amount of time.

Here is why Blackout Wednesday is not a good idea and why if you drink and drive you may not be home in time for Thanksgiving Thursday.  Drinking large amounts of alcohol quickly can lead to alcohol-induced blackout. A blackout can occur when consuming 4 or more drinks in roughly two hours, but may vary depending on the person. A blackout is not the same as passing out, a person may seem awake and functioning and may think they are able drive. Needless to say, drinking and driving is not a good idea. It could cost you your life or you could kill or injure other people. Also, if you get pulled over, here is what you may face:

  1. You get a DWI if your BAC is above 0.08% – different people can get to that faster than others. Here is some  information on how to determine whether you had too much to drive.
  2. If you are under 21, you get arrested, your license could be suspended for 30-90 days, have to do community service and attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) education.
  3. If you get a DWI, you will get a fine, and your license suspended, and you will be required to attend IDRC. Here is more info about the possible penalties.
  4. If you get a DWI, travel abroad can be challenging. Some countries require a special waiver for travel: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Qatar, and Dubai.
  5. If you get pulled over and you refuse the breath test, you will get charges and you will pay fines. Those who refuse to submit to a chemical test will be charged with drunk driving and face a double conviction. Here is more info on this.

When considering all of the above, the smarter. safer and cheaper route is to designate a sober driver if you choose to consume alcohol, or get a cab, or a rideshare.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and stay safe!


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