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How Can Motorists Avoid Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents?

December 16, 2021

drunk driving

Drunk driving puts people in danger every day of the year, but during the winter holidays, the risks increase. On a regular day, a drunk driver is involved in one-quarter of all fatal car accidents. During the holidays, that percentage rises to nearly one-third of all deadly collisions. It is no surprise that alcohol plays a role in holiday celebrations for people all over the United States. Yet, the prevalence of drinking when people gather for the holidays must come with an acknowledgement of the dangers that arise when celebratory drinking is combined with driving.

In fact, alcohol is a major factor in more fatal car accidents during the winter holidays than at any other time of the year.

Although summer holidays and other celebrations see a significant uptick in preventable drunk driving accidents, the winter holidays are a time when drinking and driving involve the deadliest consequences.

AAA estimates that 42 million individuals travel by car every Thanksgiving. Christmas travel involves more than 91 million people across the country between December 23 and January 1. Alcohol-related accidents cause about 25,000 injuries each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to data from compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Along with an elevated level of alcohol-related collisions and injuries, reports of drunk driving deaths are highest during the winter holiday period.  Figures from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that in 2019, a total of 140 people died in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol at Christmas. Another 123 died over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day is a particularly dangerous day for alcohol-related accidents, with 58 percent of collisions involving someone under the influence of alcohol, according to AAA. The first of January is particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

Why Do Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents Increase during the Winter Holidays?

The biggest reason for the increase in drunk driving deaths at the holidays is that people tend to drink more during holiday celebrations without making alternate arrangements to getting behind the wheel afterward. Other influences might include the stress and loneliness that some people experience that may lead to non-celebratory drinking.

Whatever the cause that leads to the drinking, the choice becomes deadly when people make the dangerous decision to operate a vehicle when they are in no condition to drive.

How Can Alcohol-Related Injuries and Deaths During the Holidays Be Prevented?

Drunk driving can be reduced by an increase in the presence of law enforcement at traffic stops or check points to discourage people from taking the chance. The possibility of getting caught is a strong motivator for people who refuse to take seriously the more lethal consequences of their choice to drive drunk.

Individual drivers can take specific steps to reduce drunk driving deaths by being responsible for their safe habits around the use of alcohol and driving. Some of these suggestions include the following:

  • Designate a driver if you plan to consume alcohol.
  • Do not travel when the risk of drunk driving accidents is highest, including weekends, holidays, and after midnight.
  • Stay alert for other drivers who may be under the influence.
  • Always wear your seat belt.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. Provide Legal Advice and Services to People Injured by Drunk Drivers

If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in a drunk driving accident, you should be able to seek damages from the individual responsible for your losses. The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. will help you understand your rights and support your case against the person responsible for your accident. Call us today at 215-569-9100 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.