Make plans to get home safe before drinking on 'Blackout Wednesday,' says AAA

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - As families prepare to give thanks, AAA is warning motorists about the day before Thanksgiving Day, which is a particularly bad day for alcohol and drug-related fatal crashes.

It is unofficially known as one of the days of the year with the highest level of alcohol consumption or binge drinking by college students home for the holiday. AAA calls it "Blackout Wednesday."

AAA projects that 45.5 million Americans will travel by car to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends -- that estimate includes 1.89 million Ohio-area residents.

Data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety shows that in 2016, there were 12,243 alcohol-related crashes, causing 5,076 injuries and 346 deaths on Ohio roads. During the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period this past year, there were 3,663 crashes resulting in 1,213 injuries and nine deaths (according to AAA, alcohol was involved in four of those killed during the holiday period).

"Blackout Wednesday" has surpassed New Year's for the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

While officers watch the road your bartenders will be watching your intake.

"The bartenders know how much someone has been served and if they're slurring or acting inebriated at all... and if they're not OK we'll cut them off," Queen City Radio Owner Louisa Reckman said.

She said her bartenders aren't shy about calling patrons a cab.

"We want to make sure everyone is safe tonight and make sure everyone gets home to their families tomorrow," Reckman said.

AAA offers these tips to stay safe:

  • Make a plan for how to get home before consuming alcohol
  • If you don't have a designated driver, call cab or ride share (or use public transit)
  • Don't let friends drive if they have had too much alcohol to drink
  • Walking impaired can be dangerous as well, designate a sober friend to walk you home

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