If you plan on including alcohol with your Thanksgiving festivities this weekend, make sure that you’re also planning on designating a driver.
That’s the message that the Manteca Police Department has for the public heading into one of the busiest travel holidays of the year – hoping that the combination of advance education and targeted patrols will keep residents safe as they look to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family members that may have been absent from the dinner table last year due to the pandemic.
“If your plans to celebrate include alcohol, plan for a sober driver,” a release from the Manteca Police Department about the upcoming holiday weekend said. “You may have heard of the popular trend during the Thanksgiving holiday, “Blackout Wednesday,” which occurs on the eve of Thanksgiving.
“Unfortunately, this trend encourages the heavy consumption of alcohol, which is why we’re working hard to keep drunk drivers off the roads.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic forced many families to eat only with those in their immediate households this year, Americans are gearing up for a return to normalcy in 2021 – evidenced by the predicted 13 percent increase in the number of people traveling this weekend.
Now that international borders are open once again and COVID infection numbers are on the decline in many places and safety protocols have been fine-tuned over the course of the last year to protect those that are traveling, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 53 million Americans will “travel” over the long weekend – with the majority of that traveling being done by car.
With that many people on the road, having just a single intoxicated driver can put an untold number of innocent lives in danger.
“We know friends and families will be especially excited to gather around the Thanksgiving table this year,” said Manteca Police Operation Lieutenant Paul Carmona. “Unfortunately, drunk driving is a real threat to our community, and that threat increases during holidays like Thanksgiving.
“Driving under the influence is deadly and illegal, and no one should ever take that risk.”
From 2015 through 2019, a total of 135 drivers that were determined to be under the influence of alcohol were involved in fatal car crashes on the eve of Thanksgiving, and across the entire holiday weekend during the same time span nearly 800 people died in alcohol-related accidents.
In 2019 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than four-times as many people that were involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired during the nighttime hours than during the day.
For those looking to celebrate with the consumption of alcohol, the Manteca Police makes the following recommendations to ensure that everybody arrives safely at their destination:
*It’s never okay to drink and drive – even if you have only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
*If you a see a drunk driver on the road, dial 911.
*Don’t be afraid to take the keys away from somebody that is going to climb behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.