COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Let the celebrations begin. School is officially out for Texas A&M students and over the next couple days, people will be taking off work to celebrate the holidays. With more people traveling, local enforcements remind us to stay wary on the roads so everyone can arrive where they need to be.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is notoriously known as Blackout Wednesday.
“Thanksgiving is one of the most fatal holidays as far as alcohol impaired or drug impaired accidents [are] concerned. People who are working oftentimes get released from work early on Wednesday so people feel very relaxed. They feel comfortable, 'hey we are on vacation now, we get a holiday break,' so they tend to cut loose a little more and drink more,” said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension's Jeffrey Pearce.
Pearce said if you are drinking alcohol, make sure you have a plan to get home safely. He also added that if you are driving tomorrow to pay attention to others on the road.
“Try not to travel at night this holiday stretch. When it comes to alcohol impaired accidents and fatalities, they most commonly occur at night especially in your later hours for obvious reason. People are out drinking at night and they stay out late and they drive home. So if you are trying to drive, please get that done during the daytime hours. Be aware while you’re out there driving. Know the signs to look for if someone is swerving back and forth or drifting back and forth in their lane, their speeds are fluctuating. They speed up, they slow down, just seems very odd. That’s very good tell tale sign and so we encourage people to contact the local law enforcement if they see that and feel like someone is impaired on the roadway," said Pearce.
College Station police say they tend to see an increase in DWI offenses over the holiday periods.
“Buzzed driving is drunk driving and what we mean by that is if you feel the effects of alcohol you are legally intoxicated in the state of Texas. Texas has the two-pronged test for intoxication as far as driving while intoxicated,” said College Station Police Tristen Lopez.
Even if you are not at the statutory limit of .08, if an officer pulls you over and determines you are intoxicated, that is considered drunk driving.
“There will be more officers out on the road. College Station PD is participating in this year’s TXDOT's selective traffic enforcement program grant and what that means is that state funds are helping to provide for officers to be on a numbered time basis on the road specifically looking for hazardous traffic violations, which includes driving while intoxicated texting and driving speeding and running red lights," said Lopez.
College Station police also said if you refuse to provide a sample of your breath or blood when you are pulled over, law enforcement can take you to the hospital to draw a specimen of your blood.
These efforts are both made in hopes of ending the streak of having a deathless day on Texas roadways.
To learn more about classes that Texas A&M Agrilife Extension holds on the dangers of alochol and substance abuse, visit its website here.