During the first wave of the pandemic, we saw a substantial decrease in fatal crashes on our nation’s roads as folks quarantined at home and traveled less. This decrease was especially true, due to a dramatic drop in drunk driving.
It’s been predicted that crash rates will rise again, especially during holidays, when traffic fatalities, especially drunk driving-related deaths, are significantly high. As the vaccine rolls out over the next several months, experts are predicting similar spikes throughout the year.
In a recent study, autoinsurance.org ranked the 10 most dangerous holidays for driving. Their biggest concern is that people, stir-crazy from staying home during the pandemic, will cause a spike in holiday traffic deaths that even exceed previous years. They have been analyzing the phenomenon of holiday fatal crashes for four years, noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports on fatal crashes and that each wreck can result in multiple deaths.
The 10 Deadliest Holidays for Driving in the U.S.
We all love to celebrate one or many of our nation’s biggest holidays. Holidays like Independence Day or Cinco de Mayo mean parties and fireworks. Ones like Christmas or Easter mean time with family and good food. Many of these holidays mean time off of work, too, something we all enjoy.
Sadly, many holidays result in a spike in fatal crashes across the country, with more people on the road and a sizable increase in drunk driving incidents. The following list comes from a three-year study of the 10 deadliest holidays for driving in the United States from 2016 to 2018.
- Independence Day
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Father’s Day
- Mother’s Day
- Veterans Day
- Cinco de Mayo
As you can see, this list compares drinking-heavy holidays, like Independence Day, with holidays that see a big increase in traffic, like Columbus Day. As the Deadliest Holiday of the year, Independence Day statistics show a three-year total of fatal crashes of 1,349, which averages out to 449.67 fatal crashes per year.
Despite what many may think, Independence Day (or the Fourth of July) has only been a holiday since 1941. It commemorates July 4, 1776, when delegates from the original 13 colonies formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document separating this nation from the imperial power of Great Britain. Independence Day brings with it a lot of festivities, including fireworks, barbeques, and excessive drinking. This last activity is largely what makes Fourth of July roadways so deadly for U.S. drivers. The Department of Transportation reports that there are a couple tragic statistics to keep in mind from July 4, 2018:
- Lots of DUIs:Of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes, 71% were in a crash involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher.
- The dangers of nighttime driving: Of the people who died in alcohol-impaired crashes, all but nine occurred between 6:00pm to 5:59am.
Considering the national BAC limit is .08, these statistics mean people are drinking heavily across the nation on Independence Day. Tragically, this has led to thousands of deaths over the last decade.