As Thanksgiving approaches, now is a good time to remind people of the other festivities happening this week. No, not Black Friday; we’re taking about Blackout Wednesday! Many bartenders have started referring to Thanksgiving Eve by this name, though still others prefer Drinksgiving or Black Wednesday. Regardless, what’s all this about? According to the Wall Street Journal, the day before Thanksgiving has become the biggest bar night of the year in the United States. In fact, the Chicago Tribune states that it has surpassed New Year’s Eve and even St. Patrick’s Day as the preeminent drinking holiday in that Midwestern metropolis. It is also a huge night for drunk driving.
The reasons for the uptick in drinking are numerous. In general, people come home for the holidays and want to kick off the season with celebration. Many of these people are college students who are accustomed to nights out partying. Additionally, as very few of us work on Thanksgiving, it’s an ideal night to see old friends and stay out late. People also tend not to entertain at home the night before Thanksgiving since the next day is all about that. And frankly, Thanksgiving is, in the minds of many, the perfect day to sleep in and veg-out on the couch while watching football, so a night of drinking doesn’t necessarily seem like a cause for alarm.
However, there are very serious implications to this cultural phenomenon that have caught the attention of law enforcement throughout Michigan and nationwide. Police are on alert because this night has seen a major increase in accidents and traffic related deaths on the nation’s roads. In Michigan, the Thanksgiving weekend is the second-deadliest holiday for traffic crashes. Some major cities have even cited it as a night with more drunk driving fatalities than New Year’s Eve. It should be noted that, sadly, many of these deaths are of pedestrians hit by vehicles. Because police are aware of all of this, they will be extra vigilant when it comes to the roads Wednesday night and throughout the week. The Michigan State Police will increase trooper numbers from Monday the 21st of November to Sunday the 27th. Your local police department can be expected to do the same.
Here at the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC, we want everyone to have an enjoyable holiday. So, if you expect to go out this week, get yourself and your loved ones home safe by having a plan that includes a designated driver. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!