The holidays are supposed to be a time for relaxation and spending memorable time with your family. Unfortunately, drunk and impaired driving increases around the holidays, whether it is Labor Day, the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. As detailed in our Complete Guide to Drunk Driving Accidents in Kansas City, drunk driving accidents are more common than many realize and the consequences are more serious and deadly than other types of accidents.
Calculating risk of drunk drivers from car crash data
The probability of getting into a car accident increases when there are more cars on the road, such as rush hour traffic, or when there are bad road conditions, such as heavy rainstorms or winter weather. However, crash data and research also show that, when there are more alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers on the road, the odds of getting into a serious or deadly crash greatly increase. This data and research findings can be used to determine when motorists are most at risk to accidents involving alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers so you can be alert, take precautions or even avoid driving at riskiest times.
Certain days and times are more risky
In 2014, there were 9,967 people killed and drunk driving crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This equates to an average of one drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes. These drunk driving fatalities accounted for 31% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2014. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 was almost 4 times higher at night then during the day (34% versus 9%), and the percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes during the weekend was almost double versus during the week (29% versus 16%).
The most dangerous seasons and holidays to drive
During the summer and holidays, the number of drunk driving accidents also rise dramatically. For example, during the Christmas holiday, an average of 45 fatalities involving a drunk driver occurred each day. This increased further to 54 per day over New Year’s holiday. The highest rate of travel for a holiday is on Thanksgiving weekend. DUI and DWI arrests are at their highest from Thanksgiving until the end of New Year’s weekend.
Dangerous driving is higher than average during other holidays as well. According to the NHTSA, 147 people in the U.S. were killed as a result of drunk driving on Labor Day weekend in 2010, which represented 36% of all highway fatalities during that period.
The summer time usually offers the best weather and driving conditions of the year due to excellent visibility, drier roads and longer daylight hours. But, according to the NHTSA, there is nearly twice the number of drunk driving fatalities during the summer months than during the rest of the year combined.
What are the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens?
The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, known as summer vacation for most children and students, has been also referred to as "The 100 Deadliest Days" for teenage drivers. Nine of the 10 deadliest days for youth on U.S. highways fall between May and August. One reason is that teens are drinking are younger ages.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), approximately 5.8% of teens at ages 16 and 17, and 15.1% of 18 to 20 year olds, admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2010. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) found that 3,115 teens at ages of 13 to 19 died in car crashes in 2010, and about 2 out of 3 fatalities were males.
Teenagers often have lots of free time but too little driving experience. Along with teenagers' greater likelihood of engaging in dangerous “distracted driving” behavior results in much higher risks for teenage drivers, their passengers, and nearby pedestrians. Examples of distracted driving include texting, checking a cell phone, or putting on make-up while driving, and research shows that this behavior is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.
Other dangerous times to drive
Many of the most dangerous days to drive happen when people celebrate special occasions and events, such as the Super Bowl, St. Patrick's Day, or Cinco de Mayo. A NHTSA study found that alcohol-related crashes claimed a life every 51 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, and accounted for 32% of all fatalities that occurred that day.
Your most dangerous time to drive in Kansas City
Given these sobering statistics, you may be wondering when is the most dangerous time for you to drive in Kansas City. From our experience representing victims and families of victims of drunk driving accidents in Kansas City, it is a relatively easy to answer that question. Simply put -- any time you drink and drive, you are increasing your risk of being in a car accident and harming yourself and others.
Our police and highway patrol departments are very familiar with the data discussed above. If you plan to drink at the dates and times when driving dangers are elevated, you should know that police and highway patrol are on higher alert to stop those who drink and drive and prevent the most serious and deadly forms of car crashes.
Were you or someone you love involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver? Do you have questions about what to do after a car accident in Kansas City? For more information, please download a free copy of my book, Crash Course, which includes the 9 mistakes that can wreck your injury claim. You can also contact our firm in Kansas City by calling (816) 203-0143 or by filling out a form below. Contacting us is FREE and confidential, and there is no obligation to hire us to represent you. We would be happy to hear any concerns and try to assist you.