Thanksgiving: A Deadly Day on the Road
|That's one bottle of Wild Turkey too many|
San Francisco Police Captain Al Casciato offered this rationale: "It's more of a family event -- you don't see drunks partying and those issues."
But statewide statistics belie his logic. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, Thanksgiving is actually one of the deadliest holidays of the year in terms of fatal accidents, well ahead of both New Year's Day and Christmas. Yet Thanksgiving is the only holiday during which cops do not operate sobriety checkpoints. When we asked Jan Ford, spokeswoman at the OTS, why no DUI checkpoints were scheduled for this week, she told us "probably because it isn't dangerous."
But that line of thinking only works if your definition of "dangerous" is "not dangerous."
In 2009 -- the most recent available stats -- there were more people in California killed in car-related accidents on Thanksgiving Day than New Year's Eve -- a time when drinking and driving is presumed to be an illicit national pastime.
In fact, the grim statistics aren't even close. Forty-six people were killed in car crashes on Turkey Day compared to 24 on Christmas, 14 over Labor Day weekend, 21 on the Fourth of July weekend, and 39 over the New Year's holiday.
So what are the authorities doing instead of manning Thanksgiving DUI checkpoints? Per Ford, energy is focused on the "Click It Or Ticket" campaign which runs from Nov. 14 to Nov. 27. While 96.6 percent of Californians do buckle up, more than 1 million drivers aren't using seatbelts, she explains.
Furthermore, she said the state is really close to beginning its winter crackdown on drunk driving, which starts Dec. 16 and runs through the New Year.
In lieu of a DUI checkpoint, Ford offered up insightful advice. To summarize: Don't be an idiot, keep your drunk ass off the road this weekend.
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