True or false:
Cinco de Mayo is:
- The date of Mexico’s independence from Spain’s 300-year rule
- The date of a famous battle fought against the French in the state of Puebla
- Celebrated widely in Mexico with Coronas, Margaritas, and churros
- A relatively uncelebrated holiday in Mexico except for one state in Mexico
If you’re like some Americans, you would have assumed that the first choice was true – that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. You would be wrong. That day is celebrated on September 16th.
Cinco de Mayo is the date a famous battle was fought against the French in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is not widely celebrated in Mexico except for in the state of Puebla in which the battle was fought. So the answers are false, true, false, true.
Before we highlight the trouble you can potentially get into on North Carolina’s roadways during Cinco de Mayo here’s a quick history lesson of why that day is celebrated mostly in the Mexican state of Pueblo rather than throughout the entire country of Mexico and why it seems to be a more wide-spread celebration in the U.S.
Why Is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?
During the Franco-Mexican War in the late 1800s, a ragtag group of fighters in the Mexican state of Puebla successfully stood their ground against a larger force of well-armed French soldiers. Surprisingly, the motley crew of Mexican fighters (many reportedly armed only with machetes) experienced an unexpectedly small number of casualties (1 in 5) and forced the French to retreat. The outcome was unexpected. The day was May 5th and is celebrated today as the Cinco de Mayo holiday. While the schoolchildren have the day off throughout Mexico, the holiday is optional and not widely celebrated except for in the Mexican state of Puebla where the band of soldiers held off the French army.
In the United States, however, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a popular celebration of Mexican (and Hispanic/Latino) culture and heritage, particularly in areas with above average Hispanic populations. In North Carolina the larger cities with above-average Hispanic populations (the average Hispanic population in NC is 8.9%) are Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh. And roughly 60% of those 890,000 Hispanics in North Carolina are of Mexican descent.
Cinco de Mayo Charlotte Celebrates Hispanic/Latino Culture
Cinco de Mayo traditions throughout the state generally include family-friendly parades, mariachi music performances, and street festivals. The Cinco de Mayo Charlotte, for example, is a major celebration of Hispanic/Latino culture held at McAlpine Creek Park in Southeast Charlotte.
Cinco de Mayo and North Carolina Highway Safety
Yet along with all the family-friendly fun involving any celebration where alcohol is present, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into one of the most dangerous times to be on the road across the U.S. and North Carolina.
In the U.S. this holiday has generally been celebrated with margaritas, tequila, and Mexican beer among other types of cocktails. Any time alcohol is involved in a celebration, there’s potential for alcohol-related traffic accidents and deaths.
Alcoholalert.com reports that one-third of all traffic fatalities on North Carolina’s roads involve alcohol.
Drunk Driving Penalties
In North Carolina, the penalties for driving while intoxicated can be steep. If blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08% for a driver over 21, it can lead to fines, a suspension of your license, an increase in car insurance rates, and even jail time in more serious cases. (Drivers under 21 who have been drinking face an automatic penalty, no matter what their BAC is.)
However these penalties pale in comparison to the lifelong guilt many offenders have shared that they have to endure as a result of their reckless actions toward innocent victims.
Damages from accidents attributed to drunk driving can be devastating for victims and the person at fault. Truth be told, it can be devastating for those of us who legally represent these victims and their loved ones. Injuries can range from broken bones to serious traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and in some cases, death. We see this all too often and sometimes these cases are difficult to put behind you.
5 Easy Ways to Prevent Alcohol-Related Accidents
Here are some tips to try to help keep yourself and others safe during Cinco de Mayo (and any other party, event, or holiday that involves alcohol. These are very easy and convenient to do.
- Designate a driver. Driving sober is driving safer. Have someone sober willing to hold the keys and get you home as safely as possible, or use a ride share service like Uber or Lyft or other sober ride home services.
- Take away the keys of intoxicated friends. Don’t argue with them about this. You cannot reason with a drunk person. Offer to call cabs or utilize public transport for them to get home. Putting drunk drivers on the road can potentially endanger them and others.
- Drive defensively. Even if you are driving sober, there are most likely others on the road who may not be. Be observant, observe speed limits, and always report any unsafe driving to the authorities.
- If you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo party make sure you designate a sober driver to take intoxicated guests home safely. Or contact other sober ride services. You could be liable if a guest injures someone after leaving your house impaired.
- Download our sober ride page. It offers information on alternative transportation that will take you and your car home after one too many.
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If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver who prioritized recklessness over the safety of themselves and others on the roads, contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078, and we’ll evaluate your case free.
Enjoy celebrating Mexican and Hispanic/Latino culture and all it has to offer. Just make sure you try to stay safe out there from those who have enjoyed it a little too much.