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Don’t Be a Turkey This Thanksgiving: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

'This Thanksgiving Plan a Sober Ride, and the Rest Is Gravy' NHTSA logo
November 20, 2023

If your Thanksgiving holiday plans include enjoying an alcoholic beverage with your turkey and mashed potatoes, make sure you plan for a sober driver to get you home safely. This Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making sure you make it to — and from — the Thanksgiving table. With the Thanksgiving holiday kicking off a very merry time of year, drivers are urged to remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Unfortunately, drunk-driving-related crashes spike during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to NHTSA, 190 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the 2021 Thanksgiving period (6 p.m. Wednesday, November 24 through 5:59 a.m. Monday, November 29). From 2017-2021, 832 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the entire Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through 5:59 a.m. the Monday after Thanksgiving). During this same period in 2021, males were more likely than females to be alcohol-impaired and involved in a fatal crash, with males accounting for more than three-quarters of alcohol-impaired drivers.

NHTSA data shows that 13,384 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involved alcohol-impaired drivers in 2021. This represented 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States for the year, and a 14.2% increase from 2020. As holiday parties increase during this festive season, do not contribute to these senseless deaths by driving drunk. On average, more than 11,000 people were killed each year from 2017 to 2021 in drunk-driving crashes, and one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 39 minutes in 2021. This is why Cobb County is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is a matter of life and death. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL. And the costs can be financial, too: If you’re caught drinking and driving, you could face jail time, lose your driver’s license and your vehicle, and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, car towing, higher insurance rates, and lost wages.

No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the consequences of drunk driving. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — you might be saving their life, or someone else’s. Always have a plan before you head out for the evening if you plan to drink alcohol. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you may already be too impaired to make the right choices.

By working together, we can save lives and help keep America’s roadways safe. Please join us in sharing the lifesaving message Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving during the holiday weekend.

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