Michigan Liquor Control Commission Urges Sober Driving Over Thanksgiving

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (52727)
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

November 27, 2019 – With an expected heavy consumption of alcohol in bars and restaurants on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, one of the deadliest nights on Michigan roads, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) today urges citizens to celebrate responsibly by not binge drinking, not drinking and driving, and getting home with a designated driver, public transportation or ride share. Liquor licensees are urged to always check IDs to ensure patrons’ legal drinking age, serve patrons responsibly and know the signs of intoxication. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.     

 “Drunk driving is a real threat to every Michigan community especially during holidays like Thanksgiving,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “Driving under the influence is not only illegal, it’s deadly, and no one should ever take that risk. If you are under the influence of any impairing substance, hand the keys to a sober friend instead of driving yourself home.”

In 2018, there were 11 fatalities in Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 pm Thanksgiving Eve through midnight the following Sunday). Out of the 11 fatalities, four involved alcohol – three killing the driver, according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan State Police.

To help keep Michiganders safe on the streets, MLCC joins with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to spread the message that drunk driving is dangerous and illegal, period. This Thanksgiving Eve, MLCC joins the NHTSA and its partners on a social media blitz featuring the hashtag #BoycottBlackoutWednesday to help deliver lifesaving messages into the public conversation and encourage positive actions that can help reduce impaired driving on the roadways.

MLCC offers the state’s liquor licensees and their patrons additional tips to help ensure a safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

Consumer Tips for a Safe Night Out

  • Plan a safe way home before you leave the house; once you start drinking you likely won’t make good choices.
  • Designate a sober driver; or plan to use public transportation or ride sharing to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 to reach law enforcement.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Tips for Liquor Licensees

  • Ask for valid identification to verify a patron’s age is 21 years or older before selling or serving alcohol to them. 
  • Serve responsibly to ensure that no one becomes intoxicated in your business.
  • Do not sell or serve alcoholic beverages to individuals who appear intoxicated and do not allow an intoxicated person to consume alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises.
  • Intoxicated individuals who enter your establishment are not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol.
  • Know your establishment’s capacity level to avoid overcrowding that can lead to altercations and obstructed exits which are safety and fire hazards.
  • Maintain order and control of the premises through constant observance of customers and situations.
  • Establish a policy and procedure for staff to report suspected illegal activity to management. 

According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it one of the deadliest holidays. In fact, during 2017 alone, more than one out of every three traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday period ​involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

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