Ohio State Highway Patrol advises drivers of ‘Blackout Wednesday’ ahead of Thanksgiving

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CLEVELAND (WJW) - As millions of people hit the road for Thanksgiving, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other area law enforcement agencies are working to prevent crashes on "Blackout Wednesday."

"Commonly referred to as the night before Thanksgiving where folks tend to partake in drinking and driving," explained Sergeant Ray Santiago.

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol data, just shy of 1,000 OVI arrests occurred so far this year in Cuyahoga County. It ranks second in the state behind Franklin County with more than 1,800 arrests.

"Last year was one of our safest Thanksgiving holiday seasons on record in quite some time," said Sgt. Santiago. "However we always have work to do and until we hit that number of zero we're going to continue our efforts. We can't do that alone."

Jeralyn Shimell, a victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says she is doing her part to spread awareness about the heartbreak stemming from drunk driving crashes.

"Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, they'll be a family who is supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving Day but is now faced with the unthinkable, unspeakable tragedy of maybe a loss, an injury," said Shimell.

According to AAA, 49.3 million travelers will be driving this Thanksgiving, that's the most since 2005.

The Summit County Prosecutor is sponsoring Arrive Alive, an initiative where users can call City Yellow Cab or use Lyft for a free ride home in Summit County from Wednesday at 6 p.m. through Saturday 6 a.m. City Yellow Cab will offer a ride upon mention of Arrive Alive up to $65 dollars at 330-253-3141.

Lyft users can use the code SCPOTHANK19 up to $20 dollars with a limit of 300 one time use codes.

Additionally, the Summit County OVI Task Force will conduct sobriety checkpoints across the county Wednesday night.

State Patrol advises drivers to keep in mind three things that will save lives this holiday season.

"Folks can just obey all traffic laws, always buckle up and never drive impaired," said Sgt. Santiago.

More on MADD, here.

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