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Impaired Driving: A Deadly Danger at Thanksgiving

Boycott Blackout Wednesday and ditch Danksgiving to prevent alcohol and drug-impaired driving this Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year as family and friends from faraway places come together to share delicious food and make treasured memories. Celebrate the holiday by watching parades with grandma, playing backyard football with the cousins, and splitting that last piece of pumpkin pie with your uncle – but have fun safely. Don't make the reckless decision of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Unfortunately, excessive alcohol and drug intoxication are increasingly rampant over Thanksgiving due to events like "Blackout Wednesday" and "Danksgiving" that highlight and even encourage the heavy consumption of alcohol and marijuana throughout the holiday weekend.

Impaired driving in any form is dangerous and illegal in all fifty states, and never worth the risk. From 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making it the deadliest holiday on our roadways. So, this year say "No thanks" to impaired driving and remember: Buzzed driving is drunk driving and if you feel different, you drive different.


Alcohol consumption impairs your thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination—all vital abilities to operating a vehicle safely. At a .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), your crash risk increases exponentially. Because of this risk, it's illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. But even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Predictable Effects on Driving
.02 Decline in visual functions, decline in ability to perform 2 tasks at the same time
.05 Reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations
.08 Concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability, impaired perception
.10 Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
.15 Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing
Blood Alcohol Concentration

Drinking and Driving is Never Cool.

In 2016, 39 percent of drivers involved in fatal alcohol-impaired crashes were under the age of 24. If you've been drinking, never get behind the wheel of a vehicle. #BoycottBlackoutWednesday


This Thanksgiving, it's important to remember that drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Illegal drugs, prescription medication, and even some over-the-counter drugs can interfere with your brain's ability to properly function. Drug use can negatively impact your motor coordination and reaction time—both critical aspects of safely operating a vehicle. It's illegal to drive while drug-impaired, and it puts you, your passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury or death. In 2015, 42 percent of tested drivers who were killed in crashes were found drug positive, a four percent increase from 2014.

DUI is More Than Just Alcohol.

In NHTSA's National Roadside Survey conducted in 2013-2014, 20 percent of drivers surveyed tested positive for potentially impairing drugs. If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.


Being responsible is easy—if you have been drinking or have taken mind-altering drugs, do not drive. Your life, and the lives of others are at risk if you do not have a responsible plan to get home safely from your Labor Day party. Here are a few tips to help you have a safe and fun night of celebration.

  1. Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
  2. Use NHTSA's SafeRide app to call a taxi or a friend. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  3. If you are hosting the party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  4. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call law enforcement immediately.
  5. Always wear your seat belt. It's the best defense against drunk drivers.

Let others know that you're going to #BoycottBlackoutWednesday and #DitchDanksgiving this year.

Share the hashtag on social media and stay safe this Thanksgiving holiday season.