Data from a number of organizations shows that binge drinking and drunk driving increase astronomically during the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving Eve – which is now termed “Blackout Wednesday” in many cities.
The data, released by Alcohol Monitoring Systems as part of their annual public awareness campaign, paints a picture of high-risk drinking and increased rates of DUI injuries and deaths during the 36-day holiday season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 728 people will be injured or killed each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in drunk driving accidents, a rate two to three times higher than the rest of the year.
Even already-convicted drunk drivers who are sentenced to 24/7 alcohol monitoring can’t seem to shake the temptations of the season. According to AMS, drinking violations for the more than 17,000 offenders they monitor daily skyrocket an average of 32 percent during the holiday period.
“And that’s for individuals who know they’re being tested every 30 minutes, know they’ll be caught and know there will be consequences,” Mike Iiams, AMS chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “That number just illustrates the significance of family stress, money stress and an endless supply of holiday temptations for people already struggling with alcohol.”
On New Year’s, violations increase 112 percent compared to the rest of the year, according to Iiams.
AMS encourages everyone to make a plan for getting home safely before you leave, rather than deciding how to get home after you’ve been drinking.