HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Drive sober or get pulled over is the message from local law enforcement agencies the night before Thanksgiving, commonly known as “Blackout Wednesday.”
It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, but it’s also the deadliest holiday on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says from 2015 to 2019, 135 drunk drivers died in crashes on Thanksgiving Eve, and over the entire Thanksgiving holiday period, nearly 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes.
Hillsborough County deputies, Tampa police officers and Florida Highway Patrol troopers hit the streets Wednesday night with one goal in mind, try to stop impaired drivers. It was part of the Thanksgiving Night Saturation.
“Our goal is for everyone to come home, spend the time with the family so they can go back to where they came from,” Sergeant Hugh Gross with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sharon Hall supports this message.
Hall is with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She joined more than 10 years ago after the death of her 26-year-old son Louis Hall. He was a passenger in the car with a drunk driver who was speeding on the Selmon Expressway in 2008. Both were killed in the crash.
“The more impaired drivers they stop tonight and every time they do this the safer our community is,” Hall said. “We just want people to be safe, we don’t want anyone else to get that knock on the door like I got that night, just want people to get home safely.”
As families come together this week, she is reminding people there are too many options and reasons not to drink and drive.
“This a 100% preventable tragedy, so there’s no reason for people to get behind the wheel after they’ve had even one drink,” Hall said.