As millions of Americans take to the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, UTHSC’s Campus Police Department is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help make travel as safe as possible during the long holiday weekend.
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the deadliest time of the year for drunk driving and alcohol-related fatalities. From 2012 to 2016, more than 800 people died in alcohol-related crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it the deadliest holiday time on the road. Thanksgiving Eve, when holiday festivities commence, is known as “Blackout Wednesday,” because it is one of the worst days of the year for alcohol-related accidents.
UTHSC’s Campus Police Department is committed to ensuring safety on the campus, in the Memphis Medical District, and in the city of Memphis as a whole. For that reason, the department is joining the NHTSA in urging people to:
- Designate a sober driver before any gathering where alcohol will be served.
- Use public transportation, a taxi, a ride-share service, or a sober-ride program to get home safely. AAA’s Tow To Go program offers free vehicle transport and a ride to members and non-members during the holiday. Contact (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.
- Always wear a seat belt, whether riding or driving.
Campus Police will be sharing the NHTSA social media campaign themed: “Make It to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve.” On November 22, all Campus Police social media will be sharing content on the importance of not drinking and driving, and planning ahead for a sober ride home. Posts, Instagram images, and Tweets with the hashtags #buzzeddriving and #designateddriver will be available for organizations to participate and help distribute this critical message.
Anyone who sees a drunk driver on the road is urged to contact UTHSC Campus Police (in the Memphis Medical District), the Memphis Police Department, or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.