Allie Holbrook

SFYB Staff Writer

Beware of “Blackout Wednesday”

By: Allie Holbrook
Thanksgiving.  A day for gratitude, but also a time of excess.  Tables groan with turkey and pumpkin pie, wine flows freely, and there’s a sense that nothing bad can happen on a night of such goodwill.
In fact, Thanksgiving is bad news for people trying to stay sober. Not to mention the people who are unfortunate enough to share the roads with drunks.

This Wednesday evening heralds the beginning of the long weekend, a night the bar industry and law enforcement call “Blackout Wednesday.” Alcohol consumption will begin to spike tonight and with it the inevitable consequences.

Year after year, road fatalities are higher on Thanksgiving than at any other time of year, and that includes New Year’s Day. Revelers heading home in the wee hours after a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne are less likely to be driving under the influence than people who have taken advantage of a Thanksgiving cornucopia of booze.  In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported almost half of the motorist fatalities over the Thanksgiving weekend involved a drunk driver.

College students heading home for the last break before finals contribute to the toll.  But they’re not the only ones.  Alcohol Monitoring reported last Thanksgiving that drinking violations among people monitored for alcohol consumption go up by half over the Thanksgiving weekend.  These are people who have already sustained alcohol-related convictions and are under court orders. Yet they consistently drink and drive on Thanksgiving, knowing they’re being monitored.

Beware of "Blackout Wednesday"

Drunk driving isn’t the only spike over Thanksgiving. Alcohol-related injuries and assaults also rise.  ER staffs around the country brace for the usual flood of patients injured in drunken family brawls, as well as those suffering heart attacks from over-indulgence.  Nothing says “I’m grateful for my blessings” like having your stomach pumped, right?

Beware of "Blackout Wednesday"

If you’re struggling to moderate your alcohol intake, Thanksgiving is a dangerous time to drink.  Why not show your gratitude for friends and family by staying sober? Then they won’t have to pour you into a cab at the end of the night.

For those of you in recovery, congratulations.  Give thanks for your sobriety at the Thanksgiving table by celebrating with a big slice of pumpkin pie. You deserve it!

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