What is Blackout Wednesday?

November 19, 2020

The day before Thanksgiving is Blackout Wednesday, which is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Each year, millions of Americans travel to celebrate Thanksgiving and spend time with their families. The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects approximately 50 million people will travel for the holiday by automobile, even with the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, traffic congestion and delays are not the only concerns; driving under the influence (DUI) is common during the holidays, and it is especially prevalent on Blackout Wednesday. Pennsylvania drivers are therefore urged to refrain from drunk and drugged driving and to exercise caution throughout the holiday weekend.

Impaired Driving Crashes Spike During Thanksgiving Weekend

From 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people in the United States died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During that five-day Thanksgiving period in 2019, 247 people were injured, and eight people were killed in Pennsylvania alone. This annual spike in traffic crashes is largely due to drunk and drugged driving.

Drunk drivers killed 10,511 people in 2018, according to the NHTSA, 231 of which were children 14 years old and under. Many of these deaths occurred on Blackout Wednesday. The NHTSA reports that in 2018, 133 people died in drunk driving crashes between 6:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and 5:59 a.m. on the Monday after.

Drugged driving is also on the rise. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 12.6 million people drove under the influence of illicit drugs in 2018. Marijuana is one of the most common drugs found in a driver’s system after a car accident. Alarmingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that those who use marijuana are approximately 25 percent more likely to be involved in an accident.

The NHTSA cautions against driving after smoking marijuana and advises drivers to avoid Blackout Wednesday in order to safeguard themselves and others on the road.

Drive Responsibly This Thanksgiving Weekend

The NHTSA provides some tips for drivers who plan on traveling this Thanksgiving weekend. In addition to not drinking or using drugs and driving, Pennsylvania drivers should do the following:

  • Designate a sober driver.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Report suspected drunk or drugged drivers to local law enforcement.

A person who is caught driving under the influence in Pennsylvania may be subject to penalties, including a driver’s license suspension, fines, and jail time, depending on their age, blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and their number of previously committed offenses. Additionally, a drunk or drugged driver may be liable for another person’s injuries if they caused an accident. If a person is issued a DUI charge, they should contact a lawyer for assistance, especially if injuries are involved.

West Chester Criminal Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Represent Clients Facing Drunk or Drugged Driving Charges

If you have been charged with DUI, contact one of our West Chester criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes. Our experienced legal team ensures that our clients’ rights are protected. Call us at 610-431-7900 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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