By Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent – Hopkins County, [email protected]
This Thanksgiving holiday, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC program to make sure you make it to the Thanksgiving table. With the Thanksgiving holiday kicking off a very merry time of year, it’s essential to take some time to remember that buzzed driving Is drunk driving. If your plans to celebrate include alcohol, plan for a sober driver. You may have heard of the popular trend during the Thanksgiving holiday, “Blackout Wednesday,” which occurs on the eve of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this trend encourages the heavy consumption of alcohol, which is why we’re working hard to keep drunk drivers off the roads.
Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. If you are under the influence of any impairing substance, hand the keys to a sober friend instead of driving yourself home. We know friends and families will be especially excited to gather around the Thanksgiving table this year. Unfortunately, drunk driving is a real threat to our community, and that threat increases during holidays like Thanksgiving. We want our drivers to take Blackout Wednesday seriously. This is a dangerous trend. Driving under the influence is deadly and illegal, and no one should ever take that risk.
Drunk-driving-related crashes spike during the Thanksgiving holiday season. According to NHTSA, from 2015 to 2019, 135 drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol-impaired, and over the entire holiday period (6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through 5:59 a.m. the Monday after Thanksgiving), nearly 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes. In fact, during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, more than four times as many drivers involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired during nighttime hours than during the day.
It is never safe to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk or otherwise impaired. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you’re planning to head out to the bar or to parties during the Thanksgiving holiday, make sure you plan for a sober ride home. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a safe night out.
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 as drunk driving IS an emergency.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely
By working together, we can save lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Master Wellness Volunteer Training
I’m happy to announce the 2022 Master Wellness Volunteer training, scheduled to begin in January. Interested individuals will receive valuable information on health, food safety, childhood nutrition, and other topics. The first and last sessions will be held face-to=face at the Hopkins County Extension Office, and the middle three weeks will be completed on-line at the convenience of participants. Each week, new topics will be released. For more information, please contact my office at 903-885-3443. Join the great group of certified Master Wellness Volunteers already in place and have a great experience!
“It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.”