The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is calling attention to what has become a tradition among many throughout the country. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, groups are getting together to drink heavily in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. This leads to a surge in drunk driving, increasing the risk of catastrophic drunk driving accidents.
In an effort to combat this growing trend, the feds plan to increase their social media presence, flooding various platforms with #BoycottBlackoutWednesday. The goal is to encourage positive actions and reduce the risk of fatal crashes.
How serious is this problem?
The fact that the NHTSA has chosen to focus on this one specific evening gives an idea of the severity of the problem. Based on the most recent data from 2014 through 2018, the agency reports that between 6 p.m. on Wednesday and 5:59 am on Thanksgiving Thursday over 800 people have died due to alcohol related accidents.
How can we reduce the risk of drunk driving accidents?
Education is one option, and the NHTSA is hopeful their current educational efforts using social media will help change this trend. Encouraging loved ones to make good choices may also help. Volunteering as a sober driver for friends is another option to ensure those we care about it make it home safely.
Unfortunately, even when these steps are taken catastrophic accidents can happen. Driving while under the influence is against the law. In addition to criminal penalties, drivers who choose to violate this law and cause an accident that injures or kills others can be held accountable for their wrongdoing with a civil lawsuit.