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JEFFERSON CITY – As Missourians hit the road to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones this week, the Missouri Department of Transportation is urging drivers to be cautious, patient and use good judgment behind the wheel. Impaired driving, distracted driving, excessive speeds, and increased traffic are just a few of the concerns that can accompany holiday travel.

The night before Thanksgiving, sometimes referred to as Blackout Wednesday, has become a popular night for outings at bars, which can result in heavy drinking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2016 to 2020, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on the nation’s roadways.

In Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 12 people were killed and 61 were seriously injured in crashes between the Wednesday before and the Sunday after last Thanksgiving. This year, MoDOT is hoping a combination of public awareness, enforcement, and an increased promotion of sober rides will be successful in reducing or even eliminating traffic fatalities during the holiday.

To support these efforts, MoDOT has partnered with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Lyft, and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) to provide discounted rides during evening hours of the holiday season. A special discount code for Lyft rides will be promoted during the holiday on social media and in select locations using a variety of platforms, including in bar screens, jukebox ads, and, in some cases, outside digital ads. The discount codes are made available through a grant provided by GHSA, Lyft, and Responsibility.org and are intended to encourage patrons to take advantage of this safe transportation alternative.

With the number of statewide traffic fatalities approaching 900 for the year, MoDOT is urging motorists to be vigilant, always buckle up, obey posted speed limits and never drive impaired or distracted.

“Tragedies like these are almost always preventable, and there are easy, simple actions we can all take to end them,” said Jon Nelson, assistant to the state highway safety and traffic engineer. “Buckle up, put down your phone, slow down, and never drive impaired. It only takes one bad decision, sometimes in a split second, to destroy a life. Do your part, and let’s enjoy this Thanksgiving with zero traffic fatalities.”

Drivers can stay informed of road conditions and delays on MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at traveler.modot.org, also available as a free mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

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For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.

 

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