Thanksgiving weekend outranks New Year’s Eve and Halloween as the most deadly weekend of the year for holiday travelers across the country according to The National Safety Council and DUI arrest data.
For many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and a joyous carefree time with family and friends. However, the annual tradition often involves long commutes to visit relatives, celebratory drinking, and extended time off work. What at first glance appears to be a harmless holiday tradition can make for a dangerous combination for everyone.
Arizona DUI attorneys and former prosecutors Christopher Corso want Valley residents to keep safety in mind as they begin to travel this busy holiday season.
“Thanksgiving is an important time for travel, reconnecting with family, and enjoying holiday tradition,” Corso said. “However, few people realize that Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday of the year when it comes to drunk driving.”
A national study conducted by The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that traffic deaths around Thanksgiving accounted for nearly 15% of all vehicle-related fatalities in November. In 2013, the NSC estimated 436 traffic-related Thanksgiving fatalities occurred through the four day holiday weekend.
Rhude believes many people let their guard down on Thanksgiving, with the day-long festivities encouraging them to not only drink more, but to assume that they haven’t had as much to drink.
“And then, of course, they get in their car and drive home,” Rhude said.
Busy roads in combination with many holiday drinking traditions make these major accidents far more common around the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving eve or “Black Wednesday.”
“Black Wednesday isn’t a day that pops up on most people’s radar, but the mixture of relatives in town, students home from school and no work the following day makes for a busy day on the roads,” Tricia Griffith, claims group president at Progressive, told USA Today.
Unfortunately the dangerous trend doesn’t stop after Thanksgiving weekend, and Corso said drivers should continue to keep these dangers in mind as they travel throughout the holiday season.
During the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, nearly 4,400 people in Arizona were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in 2013, according to The Arizona Republic. Equating to, on average, more than 730 DUI arrests each week beginning on Thanksgiving Day.
The Arizona Governor’s Office team of officers participating in the holiday crackdown found that of the 4,371 arrests, 1,098 were extreme DUIs, 450 were aggravated DUIs, 934 were drug-related DUIs, and the average blood-alcohol content was 0.15 percent.
Corso Law Group know from experience the DUI problems that arise during the Thanksgiving weekend in Arizona. Both attorneys previously prosecuted DUIs, DWIs and OUIs for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and have handled more than 15,000 DUI cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Arizona law requires that any person found guilty of drinking and driving (even a first offense) serve jail time. And DUI convictions can also include extensive fines up to $2,500, suspension of driving privileges and the installation of an ignition interlock device – even for first offenders.
“DUI is a serious offense and something that no person should take lightly,” Corso said. “When you’re armed with the facts, the importance of a designated driver if you plan on drinking becomes even more apparent.”
To schedule a free consultation, please visit www.corsolawgroup.com or call (480) 471- 4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 17470 N. Pacesetter Way Scottsdale, AZ 85255.