Many people consider Thanksgiving to be a happy and wholesome holiday, but it is also the deadliest holiday for drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 528 people were killed in crashes across the country last year during the holiday weekend. In Ohio, there were 26 total fatal crashes over the holiday weekend, according to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The roads are busier and that contributes to the accidents, but what really makes the roads dangerous over the holidays is the spike in drunk-driving-related crashes.
Multiple agencies and local police departments are joining forces this Thanksgiving holiday to remind drivers that whether under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol, any form of impaired driving is dangerous, deadly and illegal.
According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, there were over 800 fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired driving. In 2017, over 33 percent of traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving weekend involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Last year, five of 26 fatal crashes in Ohio involved alcohol, and alcohol was a factor in 196 total crashes over the holiday weekend, according to OSHP.
“Too often, while celebrating with family and friends over Thanksgiving weekend, impaired drivers get behind the wheel, but whether impaired by alcohol, marijuana, or anything else, it can be deadly to drive under the influence. No one should ever take that risk,” said Lt. Robert Gable, Cleveland Post Commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
In an effort to keep the roads safer this holiday season, law enforcement agencies will have extra patrols out looking for impaired drivers along Interstate 90 in Cuyahoga County from Euclid to Westlake. This Corridor Enforcement Initiative will run from Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. to Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 a.m.
Law enforcement agencies said heightened enforcement and education for motorists, such as the planned Corridor Enforcement, is the best defense against this threat to public safety that affects everyone on the road this holiday season.