When Are Drunk Drivers Most Driving?
During certain times of the year, the number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads increases dramatically. Drunk driving crashes are a leading cause of fatal car accidents in the United States. These crashes cost the economy $44 billion a year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities each year. The organization began reporting drunk driving deaths in 1982.
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Some of the most dangerous holidays for drunk drivers are New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and St. Patrick’s Day. These days account for more than half of all alcohol-related crash fatalities. During the holidays, the rate of drunk drivers on the road increases by 40 percent.
Most of these crashes occur during the weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of DUI-related accidents on the weekends is more than three times the weekday rate. In addition, drunk drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes during the night. Almost two-thirds of all fatal crashes involve an alcohol-impaired driver during the period from midnight to 3 a.m. and nearly one-third of all alcohol-impaired driving crashes involve repeat offenders.
The CDC estimates that approximately 29 drunk driving fatalities per day happen each day. The rate of fatalities during the non-holiday periods was very similar to that of the holiday periods.
During the Christmas and New Year period, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased by 34 percent. There were 54 alcohol-impaired fatalities each day during the holiday period. In 2009, 86 percent of all drunk driving crashes occurred on non-interstate roads. The majority of alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred in urban areas.
Teenagers are particularly at risk of drunk driving accidents. A CDC study found that more than eighty-one percent of teens who died in a crash had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit. In 2010, the Department of Transportation estimated that 3,115 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes. It’s important to remember that most teenage drivers are still learning to drive and lack experience behind the wheel. These teens are also more likely to engage in underage drinking. In 2010, more than 58,000 teens were arrested for DUI. The most popular way to travel is by car. This is one of the main reasons why the number of DUI arrests increases during the holidays.
Teenagers are also the most likely group of people to have an alcohol-related crash. The rate of crashes that involve teenage drivers is five to seven times higher than the overall rate of crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. These crashes are especially prevalent during the summer months. A CDC report has found that the number of drunk drivers on the road doubles during the summertime. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that teens stay home after drinking if they plan to drive. This is one of the most effective ways to avoid a drunk driving crash.
During the holidays, the risk of a DUI-related crash is heightened by a large amount of holiday traffic on the roads. During this time of the year, more people take time off work, visit family and friends and attend celebrations.