The Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo is both misunderstood and abused.
Misunderstood, because it is not "Mexican Independence Day," a south-of-the-border version of July 4. Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain on Sept. 16; the May 5 celebration commemorates a victory over French armies in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Here's the abused part: Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico. But in America it has become another excuse for excess.
As the Governor's Office of Highway Safety points out in a press release, that also means drinking - and driving.
"Let's face it," says Director Bob Dallas, "Impaired adults behaving badly have turned the Cinco de Mayo celebration into another deadly drinking and driving weekend."
Nearly half of all highway fatalities nationwide on May 5 and 6 during 2002-06 were caused by impaired drivers, Dallas notes.
Please: Turning the minor holiday into major revelry is fine. But turning it into a deadly one is flat wrong. This Cinco de Mayo, if you drink, don't drive.
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