Cinco de Mayo 2018: stay safe, remember its roots

By Alejandra Palomino, Public Health – Seattle & King County Violence and Injury Prevention Unit

On the twentieth anniversary of the King County Traffic Safety Coalition, we ask that all residents avoid drinking and driving this holiday weekend (and always).

A recent statewide analysis showed that fatal crashes increased when the Cinco de Mayo celebrations stretched over a weekend. The last time Cinco de Mayo celebrations stretched into the weekend was in 2012 resulting in 11 fatal crashes of which 8 were due to impaired driving. Since 2012 there have been 20 more fatal crashes during Cinco de Mayo celebrations, of which 11 were due to impaired driving. Close to 80% of drivers involved in the fatal crashes were male between 21 and 30 years, of which 90% of fatal drivers were white.

If you are going to drink, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Have a sober designated driver
  • Use public transportation
  • Call an Uber, Lyft, or a Cab

Police departments throughout King County will have additional officers watching for drivers who mix drinking with driving this holiday.  Public Health – Seattle & King County and the King County Traffic Safety Task Force are coordinating these extra patrols. It is important for our community to know and understand that this is not a targeted patrol but a focus on keeping intoxicated drivers off of our roads and ensure everyone’s safety.

“We’re getting the word out now to remind anyone drinking to plan ahead for a safe ride home,” shared Annie Kirk of the King County Traffic Safety Task Force. “We’re working to get dangerous drivers off our roads and keep everyone safe this weekend.”

Although Cinco de Mayo has been adopted by some as a day for drinking, the holiday’s origins aren’t associated with alcohol (or Mexican independence, actually). In fact, the 1862 “Batalla de Puebla” commemorates the victory of Mexican troops’ gains against the invading French military forces. It was a symbol of Mexican resistance to the French imperialism. In the United States, the holiday has become a joyful, cultural celebration for Mexican-Americans and is observed with parades, music, folklore, dances and food.

Leaders from the Latinx community, the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, El Centro de la Raza, and Sea Mar encourage residents to enjoy and celebrate all the local Cinco de Mayo festivities responsibly and avoid driving under the influence.

We encourage everyone to celebrate the historical and cultural significance of Cinco de Mayo with El Centro this Saturday from 11 am-5 pm. Entrance to the event is free and will be taking place at the Centilia Cultural Center & Outdoor Plaza (1660 S. Roberto Maestas Festival St. Seattle, WA).

This blog post has been translated into Spanish here: 

Originally posted on May 3, 2018.

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