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Let’s Talk Turkey: Blackout Wednesday

  • Published
  • By Tim Barela
  • Air Education and Training Command Safety Directorate

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- A cultural phenomenon known as Blackout Wednesday encourages social binge drinking on Thanksgiving Eve. That has law enforcement and traffic safety officials concerned about a spike in drunk driving crashes and deaths this week.


Thanksgiving Eve may not get the same attention as Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but the night before “Turkey Day” is one of the busiest times of the year for bars across the nation, earning it the reputation as Blackout Wednesday or Drinksgiving.


This can result in a dangerous time, considering Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


On average, about 140 drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve are legally drunk. The entire Thanksgiving holiday period, beginning on Thanksgiving Eve and continuing through Sunday, sees about 800 people killed each year in crashes involving a drunk driver.


The bottom line? If you drink, don’t drive.


Many people have been surprised to find their blood-alcohol content level still over the limit the next day following a night of binging. If you drink heavily on Thanksgiving Eve, it’s likely you can’t just “sleep it off” and be ready to drive on Thanksgiving Day.


Enjoy socializing with family and friends this Thanksgiving, but don’t get caught up in the dangerous trend known as Blackout Wednesday.