National holiday drunk driving statistics paint a grim picture. Between work parties, family gatherings, and celebratory bar nights, people tend to consume more alcohol during the holidays. And, since more people travel during the holidays than other times of the year, the number of serious and fatal DUI accidents also increases. This isn’t just true over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — the summer’s holiday drunk driving statistics are equally high.
Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics Are Higher Than Other Times of the Year
During the holidays, millions of Americans hit the roads to visit family, friends, or enjoy a vacation. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of long-distance travelers increases by 54% over the Thanksgiving weekend and by 23% between Christmas and New Year’s Day. While most drivers operate their vehicles responsibly, more Americans tend to drive drunk during the holidays.
Annually, about 28% of fatal accidents are caused by drunk driving. This number increases to roughly 40% during a holiday or holiday weekend. This increase is due to a series of factors, including increased traffic volumes, more impaired drivers, and a higher percentage of “extreme” and “super extreme” DUIs. In 2010 alone, drunk driving accidents cost American $44 billion in lost income, medical expenses, property damage, insurance costs, and legal expenses.
According to holiday drunk driving statistics, the most dangerous times to drive are:
- Blackout Wednesday: The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Regarded as one of the biggest bar nights of the year, it especially impacts areas with large populations of college students.
- New Year’s Eve and Day: Many people celebrate the New Year by popping bottles of champagne, dancing all night, and then driving home. Pedestrian-related accidents are particularly high on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
- Saint Patrick’s Day: Too many people associate Saint Patrick’s Day with binge drinking. About 40% of car accident fatalities on St. Patty’s Day involve drunk driving.
- 4th of July: Independence Day is considered one of the most dangerous days to drive, due to high traffic volumes, lengthy celebrations, and prolonged alcohol consumption.
Additionally, the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are sometimes called the “100 deadliest days of summer.” This is due to a large number of teenagers that die in car crashes over the summer.
What Should You Do if You Sustain Injuries Because of a Holiday Drunk Driver?
After an accident, it’s important to call 911 and seek medical treatment. This is particularly true after an accident involving a drunk or drugged driver. Immediately after an accident, your body is filled with adrenaline — and you might not fully understand the severity of your injuries. What might seem like a minor ache or pain might turn into a serious, disabling injury. If you don’t have evidence documenting the circumstances surrounding the accident, you might lose valuable compensation.
Most personal injury claims involve a legal theory of negligence. To prove your negligence claim, you must show:
- The driver owed you a duty (such as the duty to drive sober and unimpaired).
- He or she violated that duty.
- This violation caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages.
If you do not have evidence supporting each element, you will lose your claim.
For this reason, it’s important to document every aspect of your claim, this includes:
- A police report describing your accident and the driver’s BAC levels,
- The other drivers’ contact and insurance information,
- Witnesses’ names and contact information,
- Pictures of your injuries and the accident scene,
- Medical records documenting your injuries, and
- The value of your medical bills, lost income, and property losses.
You should also consider speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What Should You Do If You’re Arrested for Drunk Driving?
While you should always be polite and cooperative during a traffic stop or after an accident, you do not have to comply with field sobriety tests. However, if police arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving, you typically should comply with blood-alcohol testing.
It’s also important that you remain silent and contact an experienced DUI lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer will help you understand your legal rights, your possible defenses, and might help you avoid or minimize criminal penalties.
Learn More About Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics and Your Legal Rights
Holiday drunk driving statistics aren’t just numbers — they represent individual lives and stories. At Snader Law Group, we treat our clients like people rather than numbers: helping them understand their rights and navigate the legal system. We handle both criminal defense and personal injury matters with compassion and tenacity. If you were in a drunk driving accident, contact us for a free and confidential case review.