This Holiday Has the Most DUI Crashes (It’s Not What You Think)

Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to a spike in alcohol consumption and drunk drivers on the road.

Beware of Drunk Drivers on Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday provides a four-day weekend, creating an opportunity for festive parties, family road trips, and activities with family and friends. Workers get extra days off, students are home for the holidays, and local bars are filled to capacity. The night before Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest drinking days of the year.

Thanksgiving Eve is synonymous with a significant spike in DUI accidents in Nevada and states across the country. Drunk driving rates are so high Thanksgiving Eve is referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” “Drinksgiving,” and “Whiskey Wednesday.” These terms indicate a spike in alcohol sales and a night of heavy drinking. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays of the year. More than 800 people died in drunk driving accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period between 2013 and 2017. In 2018, 35% of fatal crashes were caused by drunk drivers. For many college students and young adults returning home, Thanksgiving Eve marks a rare opportunity to meet up with old friends in a local bar and catch up on the latest news. In 2019, Thanksgiving Eve accounted for 167% of normal daily revenue in local restaurants and bars.

NHTSA accident reports show that one in three drivers involved in car crashes are intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level well above legal limits of .08 BAC. On average, 51% of drivers pulled over for DUI during Thanksgiving admit to binge drinking. Although some holiday DUIs only result in fender-benders, many result in injuries and deaths to other motorists and pedestrians. In busy areas, car accident lawyers often see pedestrian injuries caused by impaired drivers ignoring traffic signals and failing to stop at crosswalks.

Motorists and pedestrians should be aware that Thanksgiving is a dangerous time of year for drunk drivers on the road. Each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, an average of 45 drunk driving deaths occur per day. To prevent accidents and injuries, Nevada law enforcement urges people to report drivers who exhibit signs of drunk driving such as driving erratically, weaving between lanes, speeding, and disobeying traffic signals.