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Summer Holidays and Drunk Driving Crashes

Holidays Have Higher Alcohol-Involved Crash Rates

Between firework shows, time away from work, and graduations, the summer season is well-known for having many opportunities to celebrate. However, this can also be a time when drunk driving-related crashes are their highest—and often this correlates with the holidays.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), summer holidays have higher rates of fatal crashes compared to other days throughout the season. Along with this, they typically see higher rates of alcohol-involved crash fatalities on these days than the national average.

In breaking down the data further, we can better understand the alarming statistics associated with certain days of the year and why these kinds of crashes may be more likely to occur.

Memorial Day

The observed holiday period by the NSC for Memorial Day spans from 6:00 pm on Friday to the end of the day on Monday. As the last Monday in May, this is typically when roads start to see increased traffic from schools being released for the summer. Likewise, as a federal holiday, schools and workplaces are typically closed in observance, meaning more people will be spending time with friends and family.

It is no secret that many people choose to spend Memorial Day weekend outdoors boating or shooting off fireworks and drinking. While these combinations are dangerous in and of themselves, they can also be a slippery slope for hazardous roadways. Spending time in the sun can cause an increase in driver fatigue, and when paired with alcohol, this can mean a greater likelihood of crashes.

According to the NSC, 41% of fatal crashes during Memorial Day weekend in 2020 involved an alcohol-impaired driver. This is 11% higher than the annual average for that year.

Independence Day

Similar to Memorial Day, the Independence Day weekend is notable primarily for fantastic firework displays, time on the water, and drinks with friends to celebrate our country. This holiday period also extends the same timeframe as Memorial Day, beginning at 6 pm on Friday and ending at midnight on the observed Monday.

For many government agencies, Independence Day is often considered one of the deadliest holidays on the roads, likely because emergency services are split between responding to crash calls and wildfires from the mishandling of fireworks. This can mean longer response times, which correlates with higher chances of injuries becoming fatal.

The issue of drunk driving during Independence Day weekend is not new, and many local law enforcement agencies issue statements regarding safe driving during this time. Ahead of the 2022 period, the NSC released its own notice urging motorists to focus on safe driving. This comes a year after reaching an estimated 482 road deaths, with about 41% involving a drunk driver.

Labor Day

The final holiday before summer turns to fall, Labor Day, is usually one of the more laid-back holidays despite people fitting in those end-of-summer celebrations. However, this does not mean it is without its bad driving habits. In fact, the NSC forecasted similar crash rates to Independence Day weekend in 2021.

Continuing with the observation period trend, this follows the same 3.25 day period as the other summer holidays. In 2021, the NSC reported that its estimates for this period were 19% higher than the year prior because of a general increase in crashes throughout the year.

That being said, Labor Day continually has one of the higher alcohol-involved fatality rates compared to the national average. In 2020, 38% of crashes involved a drunk driver, which was 10% higher than average. When compared to fall holidays, it typically has higher rates of drunk driving, despite not being well-known as a holiday for consumption.

Oklahoma Car Accident Attorneys

Summer is notable for many reasons, but negative impacts on your safety should not be one of them. Our Oklahoma law firm encourages all motorists to practice safe driving habits no matter the day.

When you or your loved one has become injured or died as a result of a car accident caused by someone else, we can help your family pursue financial compensation. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your options by calling .