Now that we’ve reached the mid-point of summer, people will start navigating the cascade of holidays that line the year’s second half. Drivers must account for traffic dangers surrounding Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. While drunk driving occurs daily on roads nationwide, certain occasions are more plentiful for drivers traveling behind the wheel while under the influence.
Does time of the year make a difference in DUI deaths?
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) forecasted the most perilous occasions that see more drunk drivers behind the wheel. Even more alarming is the skyrocketing growth in fatalities not seen since 2003.
- DUI deaths in 2021 represent a 23 percent increase from 2016
- Weekends – Friday through Sunday – make up 60 percent of drunk driving fatalities
- Summer is the deadliest time, accounting for nearly 30 percent of deaths
- Fall sees drunk driving deaths at 27 percent
- Winter has the lowest numbers (21 percent), likely due to inclement weather
Where do the holidays rank in road fatalities?
New Year’s Day – the most dangerous holiday for drunk driving that, in reality, starts on New Year’s Eve – sees deaths spike 117 percent above what is considered the baseline average. Most holiday celebrations last several days, if not close to a week. However, the last day of the year is only celebrated for one night, with most revelers having off the first day of the new year.
Even though we have passed July 4th this year, second place in the study goes to Independence Day. Many people build long weekends filled with family fun and neighborhood parties around this holiday and that can lead to numerous instances of unsafe driving. Drunk drivers are 77 percent over the trend.
The remaining prominent holidays include:
- Thanksgiving – Third in the rankings with a 55 percent risk higher than the trend.
- Labor Day – 54 percent higher than the trend, coming in fourth.
- Memorial Day – Ranking fifth, a risk that is 51 percent higher than average
- Christmas Day – Surprisingly, the least likely for DUI deaths as the risk decreases nine percent than average due to people staying in for the holiday
Those pulled over for drunk driving, regardless of the time of year, have rights that require protection from a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.