Deathly drunk driving

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CHARLOTTE — The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has earned itself a few nicknames, like Blackout Wednesday and Drinksgiving, because it is sometimes a more popular partying night than New Year’s Eve or Saint Patrick’s Day. AAA Carolinas is warning motorists about the dangers of driving during this pre-holiday.

“Blackout Wednesday has become synonymous with binge drinking, with most people off the next day and college students home for the holiday,” said Tiffany Wright, president of AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety. “What happens, unfortunately, is we have more intoxicated drivers getting behind the wheel, endangering themselves and others.”

In the CarolinasOver the Thanksgiving holiday period in North Carolina in 2018, there were 202 collisions resulting in seven fatalities as a direct result of alcohol, according to the NCDOT. Over the same period in South Carolina, there were 80 collisions relating to alcohol, resulting in 42 injuries and five fatalities in 2018, according to the SCDPS.

National numbersAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2012 and 2016, over 800 people died during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it the deadliest holiday on our roads.

Last year, nationwide, beer sales increased by 270 percent and liquor sales by 114 percent on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, according to a study done by Upserve.

Safety TipsTo stay safe on the roads late at night, AAA Carolinas urges motorists to:

» Have a plan in place if you plan to drink that night.

» Utilize a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft or call a taxi.

» Never let friends or family get behind the wheel if they have been drinking; never get in the car with a driver that has been drinking.

» Call the police if you suspect someone is drinking and driving.

» Avoid driving Wednesday night if you don’t have to.

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