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Impaired Driving: A Deadly Danger at Thanksgiving By Johanna Hicks


               Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have joined forces this Thanksgiving holiday to remind drivers that whether under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol, any form of impaired driving is deadly and dangerous — and illegal.  The message is clear: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive Sober During Thanksgiving.

               Too often, while celebrating with family and friends over Thanksgiving weekend, impaired drivers get behind the wheel, but whether impaired by alcohol, marijuana, or anything else, it can be deadly to drive under the influence. No one should ever take that risk.  Drunk driving-related crashes spike during the Thanksgiving holiday. According to the NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday week — Wednesday, 6 p.m., to Monday, 5:59 a.m. — making it the deadliest holiday on not only Texas roadways, but across the U.S.

               In fact, during 2017, more than one out of every three traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday week involved an alcohol-impaired driver.  Also, a new threat is emerging: Drug-impaired driving. From 2007 to 2016, marijuana usage doubled among drivers killed in crashes, and in 2016, 42 percent of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested revealed to test positive for drug-use while driving.   

               Excessive alcohol and drug intoxication are also prevalent over Thanksgiving, due in part to cultural phenomenon’s like “Blackout Wednesday” and “Danksgiving,” which highlight and even encourage the heavy consumption of alcohol and marijuana throughout the holiday weekend.  That is why this Thanksgiving holiday, the NHTSA and its partners are doing even more to save lives on the road. A nationwide social media blitz, featuring the hashtags  #BoycottBlackoutWednesday and #DitchDanksgiving, will help deliver some new life-saving messages into the public conversation and encourage positive actions that can help reduce the danger of impaired driving on the roadways.   

               Impaired driving, in any form, is illegal in all 50 U.S. states. Whether a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired and should never get behind the wheel.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s “Watch UR BAC” program recommends these simple tips to stay safe on the road while celebrating this Thanksgiving:

·        Choose non-alcoholic beverages – hot cider and hot chocolate are good cold-weather beverages.

·        Plan a way to safely get home before the Thanksgiving festivities begin.

·        Always designate a sober driver.

·        If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

·        Download the NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which helps identify a sober ride home and a location for pickup.

·        If a driver on the road appears impaired, contact local law enforcement.

·        If someone you know is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make safe, sober travel arrangements to where they are going.

By working together, everyone involved can save lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. Please join or start the conversation to reduce the danger of impaired driving by sharing the life-saving message: “Drive Sober During Thanksgiving,” and by using the hashtags #BoycottBlackoutWednesday and #DitchDanksgiving on social media this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Focus on friends, family, and thankfulness – and as I always tell my kids (even though they are now adults), make wise choices!

Twogether In Texas

               Christmas is a popular time for couples to get engaged.  This can be an exciting time, but also the beginning of a stressful time of planning, finding a venue, hiring professionals, considering finances, and much more. 

“Twogether in Texas” to the rescue!  This is a marriage education workshop to help couples prepare for a lifetime of marriage.  I offer the workshop three times each year, and the next one is scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m., at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 1200 W. Houston Street, in Sulphur Springs.  Topics will include:  marriage expectations, communication, conflict resolution, money management, and goal setting. 

The workshop is open to engaged couples, seriously dating couples, and married couples.  Engaged couples have an extra bonus, because a certificate to save $60 upon applying for a marriage license will be given at the conclusion of the workshop.  Coffee, water and refreshments will be served during the morning sessions, followed by lunch, which is complementary to all couples.  More refreshments will be served during the afternoon sessions, so no one will leave hungry!

We are currently taking reservations, so if you or someone you know, might be interested in attending, please call 903-885-3443.

Closing Thought

“Don’t use time or words carelessly.  Neither can be retrieved” – Lecrae

Johanna Hicks Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Consumer Sciences 1200-B W. Houston P.O.Box 518 Sulphur springs, TX 75483 903-885-3443 – phone 903-439-4909 – Fax [email protected]

Author: Savannah Everett

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