Get to the Thanksgiving Table Safe: Merrillville Police Stepping up Patrols During Peak Thanksgiving Travel
That is why the Merrillville Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies from across the state to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.
“This holiday season, we expect to see a lot of traffic on the roads,” said Devon McDonald, Executive Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “Please make smart decisions by not mixing drinking and driving. Be proactive and plan for a sober driver.”
Merrillville officers will be on high alert while patrolling the roads for impaired drivers as well as aggressive drivers. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead to get home safely by designating a sober driver or by using public transportation or a ride service like Uber or Lyft. Never drive impaired or let friends get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired driving and fatal crashes spike during the Thanksgiving holiday. In 2021, 190 people throughout the nation died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the holiday travel period ranging from the day before Thanksgiving to the Monday following Thanksgiving.
NHTSA data shows there are more motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities during holiday periods due to increased travel time, more alcohol usage, and excessive driving speed.
The issue is made worse by Thanksgiving Eve, also known as “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday.” On that day, there is an increase in overconsumption of alcohol.
From November 2017 to November 2021, 137 drivers nationwide were involved in fatal alcohol-impaired crashes on the night before Thanksgiving. In 2021 alone, 36 drivers in fatal crashes were alcohol impaired. The Merrillville Police Department reminds people that impaired driving is a matter of life and death.
“The idea of Blackout Wednesday is really a shame,” Merrillville Police Lt. Kurt Horvath said. “We understand that people want to have a good time, but memories should last a lifetime, not be over before they start. We want everyone to make it to the Thanksgiving table.”
By working together, we can save lives and make sure there are no empty places at the Thanksgiving table this year.
Visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving for more information on impaired driving.