Thanksgiving is a holiday where people get together and spend time with their loved ones, sharing a meal and good times. This holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year. According to AAA, the most popular method of transportation is driving, with over 89% of people planning to take to the roads to get to their destination this year. The automotive club estimates that in 2016 some 43.5 million Americans will be driving to their destinations, which is an "increase of 1.9 percent over last year." AAA attributes the increase in travel plans to "improvements in the economy during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence." About 3.69 million people will be traveling by airplanes and 1.44 million using other transportation methods such as trains or buses.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there is an overall increase in traffic, but sometimes during the holiday weekend are worse to be on the roads than others. According to a 2015 Time article, the Thanksgiving traffic starts to increase Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. with the gridlock occurring between 4 p.m. and 8 pm. Congestion sets in even earlier on Wednesday, with traffic increasing around 11 a.m. In addition, traffic picks back up the Sunday following the holiday as people head home.
Unfortunately, more cars on the roads often means more accidents. Thanksgiving is one of the deadlier days to be on the roads. A 2013 USA Today article ranked it as the third most dangerous holiday behind Memorial Day and the Fourth Of July. A number of car crashes occur at this time every year occur because of drunk drivers as people are often consuming alcoholic beverages during their celebrations, along with turkey and cranberries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "[i]n 2012, 416 motorists died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend." Of these, "42 percent were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver who had a blood-alcohol content of .08 BAC or higher." In addition, "60 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belts."
Because there is an increased risk of people choosing to get behind the wheel after having one too many, as well as an increased risk of accidents, every year law enforcement agencies across the country step up patrols during the Thanksgiving weekend. A number of news articles have appeared as the holiday is approaching announcing that various law enforcement agencies plan on being out in force to catch anyone who makes the unwise decision to drive while intoxicated. These include police departments in Texas, Illinois, Virginia, and Connecticut. In addition, law enforcement agencies have announced plans to increase patrols to help prevent accidents.
Forsythe County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson wishes you as safe, enjoyable and fun Thanksgiving. If you should find yourself arrested for driving under the influence, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.