Letter: Drive safe and have a happy Thanksgiving


Regarding Thanksgiving, to paraphrase another holiday’s song: it’s (one of) the most dangerous times of the year…due to impaired-driving-related crashes.

It’s not a surprise when you think about it as the holiday is book ended by Blackout Wednesday, one of the biggest drinking and party nights of the year (almost no one has work or school the next day) and Black Friday. The combination of a four-day weekend, holiday parties, the biggest retail sales day of the year and lots of folks on the road can make for a deadly combination.

Forecasts predict that Washington state will see travel volumes in excess of pre-pandemic levels as Thanksgiving travel is expected to surge according to AAA. And the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates about 500 people may die on U.S. roads during this time. If this estimate holds true, Thanksgiving 2021 will experience the most deaths since 2007.

The good news is progress has been made in reducing alcohol-impaired crashes. In 1982, 48% of all traffic deaths involved alcohol-impaired crashes. This is down to 28% of deaths in 2019.

We all want to celebrate during the holidays and enjoy the time being around family and friends. Do what you can to make sure you and all the people at your Thanksgiving table are also around to celebrate the New Year.

Here’s wishing a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to all.

JoAnn Hellmann


Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County

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