According to Capt. Mark Crossan, of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, revelers have now made Thanksgiving night a high time to party. The police captain says that the celebrations he’s seen are second only to New Years and Super Bowl Sunday. Who knew that getting ready for turkey could be so fun?
What police also note is that with the Thanksgiving night of partying comes an increase in patrols and law enforcement efforts to stem the tide of deadly drunk driving. Police are fighting against efforts by many local bars and entertainment establishments to compete for business by offering a variety of drink, wine and food specials.
Who are the drinkers on Thanksgiving night?
The largest customer base is college students who have come home from college ready to meet with old friends and to celebrate the end of a grueling semester. This group, however, is joined with other older customers who may have a five day weekend and need some down time.
Some bar owners liken Thanksgiving night to a big reunion with a “family mentality” that makes the experience less crazy and more welcoming than other big holiday nights. Bartenders also notice that more customers are using credit cards and less cash, an indication that many of the customers may be college students living on tight budgets.
With the proliferation of college students on the bar scene on Thanksgiving night you can also expect state police to step up, not only patrolling for drunk drivers, but also enforcement of state liquor laws. Efforts will be made to limit the selling of alcohol to minors, to customers who are already drunk, and to serving drinks after the state-mandated 2 a.m. closing time for bars.
Thanksgiving night is very dangerous holiday for intoxicated drivers
Many states have created special enforcement programs on Thanksgiving night which include increased awareness and extra patrols. But even cities and states who have not implemented any type of special strategies recognize that the holiday weekend will be packed with both travelers and partiers and they will increase their efforts to ensure everyone is safe.
They have reasons to worry, for example, in Pennsylvania from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Friday “the police responded to 82 crashes, six of which were ruled DUI-related. This included Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Franklin and Adams counties,” according to a report in the Patriot News.
MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has also recognized Thanksgiving night as a dangerous day for drunk driving. Next to New Years, the day before Thanksgiving is considered one of the most dangerous days for drunk driving because it consistently sees some of the highest DUI-related crashes, arrests, and deaths each year.
What can make the day even more dangerous is that there are so many drivers on the road. According to reports by the NHTSA, “In 2011, the most recent year data are available, 931 Americans were killed in DUI-related crashes between that Wednesday and New Year’s Day, Withers said.”
Make sure that if you plan to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday that you have a designated driver or call a taxi.
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