Virtually everyone knows Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel times of the year. But is there comparable awareness of how dangerous it can be on the roads at holiday time, when the risk of car accidents caused by drunk driving increases?
The tradition of travel at Thanksgiving goes deep into American history, conjuring images of the proverbial horse-borne sleigh going “over the river and through the woods.” But few Americans travel by sleigh these days. Many travel by motor vehicle, and the danger of drunk driving accidents rises substantially during the holidays.
In fact, there is data suggesting that the period from 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the midnight on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is among the most dangerous times on the road all year. In 2008, in Pennsylvania, there were 10 fatal car accidents involving alcohol during this period – many more than at New Year’s or St. Patrick’s Day.
Law enforcement agencies have learned to prepare carefully for Thanksgiving eve, which they consider to be the heaviest drinking night of the year. Many college students are home on break, and they want to see their friends. But students and other drivers do not always make proper arrangements to get home safely when they’ve had too much to drink.
To respond to the increased risk of drunk driving, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has already announced that sobriety checkpoints will be in place for the week of November 22-28, as well as roving patrols. Local police agencies will also be out in force.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, or any other type of accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.