Staying Safe While Celebrating Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It has evolved over the years into a popular celebration, especially among young adults, of Mexican heritage and culture. Often the festivities include beer, Margaritas and Tequila. Unfortunately, many partygoers drink alcohol and drive drunk – unnecessarily risking their lives and the lives of others. In fact, Cinco de Mayo has regrettably become a deadly holiday.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- On average in 2013, one person was killed every 52 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in the United States.
- Over the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend (6 p.m. Friday, May 3rd to 5:59 a.m. Monday, May 6th) in 2013, about a fifth (21 percent) of drivers in fatal crashes had BACs of .15 or higher (almost twice the legal limit in every state). Thirty percent of drivers in those fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
- In fatal crashes during the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend (6 p.m. Friday, May 3rd to 5:59 a.m. Monday, May 6th) in 2013, only 64 percent of the drivers were completely sober (with .00 BAC).
- In 2013, there were 283 crash fatalities during the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend (6 p.m. Friday, May 3rd to 5:59 a.m. Monday, May 6th). Four out of 10 of those people lost their lives in drunk-driving crashes.
Driving drunk has fatal consequences. In 2013, approximately 32,719 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States, according to the NHTSA. Of those fatalities, 31 percent involved a driver or motorcycle operator that was alcohol-impaired.
Drunk drivers often face jail time, a loss of their driver’s license, thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines, and higher insurance rates. Simply put: Driving while drunk is dangerous, costly and completely unnecessary.
Cinco de Mayo Safety Tips
If you plan on drinking alcohol as part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration, the most important safety tip is to plan ahead to ensure you arrive home safely. You can:
- Avoid driving
- Designate a sober driver before the party begins
- Use public transportation or a cab to get you home
- Download NHTSA’s new free SaferRide app on your phone to pinpoint your location and help you call a friend or local taxi to pick you up
- Take away the keys of someone you know who is alcohol impaired and help them arrange alternative transportation
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) suggests that if you don’t plan on drinking during Cinco de Mayo, you can still be on the look out for drunk drivers and also take safety steps when you encounter a drunk driver.