Cinco De Mayo by the Numbers: Some Sobering Stats

Cinco de Mayo celebrations are fun for everyone. But with celebration comes the dangers of drinking and driving—plan ahead with some easy tips.

mexican food

Happy Cinco De Mayo, one and all! Sure, sure, we know it’s the fifth of May. But do you know why we eat guacamole by the truckload and clink our margaritas in celebration? The Mexican holiday celebrates the Battle of Puebla that took place on—you guessed it—May 5, 1862, when the massive, well-equipped and well-trained French army came marching into Mexico to collect war debts. After the battle, an unlikely victory was won by the underdog that was the Mexican army. To this day, the Battle is commemorated by massive celebration and a reported 22,000 requests for extra salsa.

Clearly, the holiday has become quite the celebration. And with 12.3 million cases of tequila sold annually in the US, we can guess there will be some toasting tonight. But Cinco de Mayo can also mean danger on the road. Get a load of these facts and figures:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “38 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities that occurred each year around May 5th involved impaired drivers or motorcycle operators with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 and above.”
  • BACtrack Breathalyzers named Cinco De Mayo one of the deadliest holidays for young drivers
  • On alcohol-intensive holidays like Cinco De Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day, statistics show that a person is killed every 51 minutes as a result of a drunk driving crash.
  • More people drink on Cinco de Mayo than they do on St. Patrick’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday.

Numbers like those are enough to make anyone think twice about getting behind the wheel after tacos and tequila. Keeping those in mind, there are plenty of safe ways to celebrate without worrying about the potential of a night gone wrong at the hand of drunk driving.

Cinco de Mayo was named one of the deadliest holidays for drinking and driving. Don't forget to plan ahead.


One simple way to make the holiday worry-free? Plan ahead. Make sure you draw out a game-plan for how you’re going to safely get where you need to go, especially for the trip home. Whether that’s Uber or asking your friend to crash on the couch, make some plans. MADD also offers advice we can certainly get behind: eat! Make sure you make delicious Mexican food part of your celebrations, and it could keep you safe.

Heard of DDVIP? This app is just for you, designated drivers: “Treating Designated Sober Drivers Like VIPs.” Aimed to encourage our ever-loved DD, this app incentivizes folks to drive their party-minded friends with perks like restaurant coupons and discounts at local bars and shops. Currently the app and its perks are only available in California, but keep an eye out for similar incentives in your area.


Not sure how to celebrate? Fear not, brave partier, we have some tips up our mangas. Traditionally, people celebrate in a variety of ways. There’s no wrong way to do Cinco de Mayo (unless you get behind the wheel buzzed, if we haven’t communicated that clearly enough). From parades to mariachis to war reenactments, the holiday is a time to come together with your friends and cheers to the story of the underdog.

Keep it simple by having some friends over, decorating with red, green and white, and cooking some yummy Mexican food. You can find some fantastic, easy recipes from Tablespoon here. And, in the spirit of a culture so rich in music, be sure to throw on a fantastic playlist like this one at your festivities.

Even More Mayo Fun


How will you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

  • Jacob Unger

    Great Read!