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Night before Thanksgiving begins traditionally deadly stretch on roads due to impaired drivers

Posted at 11:13 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-22 02:13:50-05

What many people simply think of as the night before Thanksgiving has become known as "Blackout Wednesday". It's a night when safety experts are concerned about the number of impaired drivers out on the roads.


"Our theme this year for Thanksgiving is make it to the table. And what we want is people to make it to their dining room table not the coroner's table."


It's a message Sandy Heverly is keenly aware far too many drivers won't take to heart this holiday weekend, but it's a message she has a very personal interest in sharing.


"My family was nearly annihilated by someone who chose to drive under the influence," Heverly said."My whole family ended up in the hospital. My husband. Myself. My mom. Our four children."


Heverly's mother didn't survive the crash prompting her to found the organization Stop DUI.


Despite DUI checkpoints and crackdowns; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says since 2013 alcohol related crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend killed 800 people.


"One of the deadliest holidays that we have," said Heverly.


In the more than three decades since the Heverly family's tragic accident DUI rates have decreased, but what has increased is the number of options to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking.


Cathy Burch is an Uber driver. She said it's always busy in Las Vegas, but during the holidays she definitely shares the road with more impaired drivers and picks up a lot of people who have reached their limit. 


"People take a lot more risks. Unnecessarily, " Burch said. "But we are busy and I'm just glad Uber and Lyft is here in Las Vegas because it was really needed. Really, really needed. It's saving a lot of lives."


Heverly said there's just no excuse,


"Cabs, buses," she said. "Use the feet that God gave you to walk on. There's so many alternatives."