With Halloween over and Thanksgiving on the horizon, the holiday season is in full swing. But alongside the festivities comes the dark side of holidays—drunk drivers.
More often than not, holidays are the most dangerous days on the road for drivers. Whenever there is occasion for people to drink, there is occasion for people to drive drunk .
The cold months of the year are already a dangerous time for drivers. Large numbers of travelers, inclement weather, shorter days, and high stress all contribute to increased risk on the road during the winter holiday season.
The factor that presents the most danger to holiday traffic, however, is the spike in drunk driving that occurs every year. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, in 2013 there were 1,180 people killed in crashes on American roads between December 18 and 31, and almost a third (30%) of those fatalities came in drunk-driving crashes. On Christmas Day, 23 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes.
But Christmas, according to recent data, is not the most dangerous holiday of the year for those who are behind the wheel. Based on data collected by the NHTSA, Thanksgiving is the holiday with the most traffic fatalities per year.
The Most Dangerous Holidays for Drivers
The data is based on the 3-day period around holidays between 2001 and 2006. The days before and after holidays often show a rise in traffic fatalities in addition to the holiday itself. This is because parties celebrating a holiday often take place the day before or after the actual day, and many travelers use this time to go to and from their destination.
Here are the holidays with the highest average fatalities every year.
1. New Year’s Eve/Day: Many would suspect New Year’s Eve and the day after to be No.1 on the list—the holiday is famous for excessive drinking and cold weather.This isn’t the case. With an average of 421 vehicular deaths per year, however, New Year’s is still one of the most dangerous times to find yourself on the road. Drunken revelry and winter weather are a potentially fatal combination.
2. Labor Day: Particularly when Labor Day falls on the 1st or 2nd of September, Labor Day Weekend sees high numbers of traffic deaths—an average of 488 every year. High numbers of travelers and out-of-town drivers compound the danger posed by drunk drivers.
3. Memorial Day: Like Labor Day, Memorial Day combines drinking with crowded highways. Beach goers and day-trippers should be wary on this holiday, with an average of 493 car-related deaths each year.
4. Fourth of July: Your parents warned you of the dangers of playing with fireworks around Independence Day. But perhaps they should have warned you about the intoxicated drivers that take to the roads every year on July 4th. An average of 505 traffic fatalities happen on Independence Day. Of those deaths, it is estimated that alcohol was involved in 53% of the fatal crashes.
5. Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving might be more famous for food than drink, but the number of traffic deaths skyrocket every year around Turkey Day. An average of 573 people are killed each year on Thanksgiving, making it the worst holiday to be on the road.
Remember to stay safe behind the wheel around holidays—nothing puts a damper on holiday festivities like a car accident.
If you or your loved one are injured—on any day of the year—in an auto accident by a drunk or negligent driver, you don’t have to pay for their mistake. Get in touch with an experienced injury attorney today for the compensation you need to get back on your feet.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.