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Many of us look forward to summer because it often means a time of relaxation. When we’re young, we get nearly three months off from school. As adults, we usually take family vacations in the summer and get to take a few days away from the office. And summer is flanked by holidays: Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, and Independence Day is the unofficial halfway point. Many of us have fond memories of these holidays, with cookouts, road trips, and fun in the sun. However, all three holidays have one awful thing in common: they’re the deadliest holidays for impaired driving.
A recent report by CBS outlined the problem in more detail. Memorial Day weekend is the deadliest of all, with CBS reporting that motorists are four times more likely to be killed on Memorial Day weekend then they are during a non-holiday weekend. Independence Day weekend is close behind, with Labor Day holding steady in third. The single deadliest holiday is Independence Day.
Why are summer holidays so deadly?
All three holidays take place during warm months. This means more Americans are traveling for these holidays. More traveling means more people on the road. AAA estimates 39.5 million people traveled for Memorial Day this year. Fuel prices are up, but they still aren’t as astronomical as they were a few years ago. Lower fuel prices mean more people on the road, as well.
Alcohol plays a big part in all three holidays. According to the IIHS, Forty-seven percent of the deaths on July 4 and 62 percent on January 1 involved at least one driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08g/dL. The average across all days in these years was 35 percent for deaths in crashes involving alcohol.
It’s not just alcohol.
While the big three summer holidays are associated with impaired drivers, alcohol isn’t the only cause of fatal accidents. Many people are killed because they don’t wear their seatbelts. Also, many motorcyclists are killed during these holidays because they aren’t wearing helmets. Simply wearing a seatbelt or putting on a helmet could cut down on many of these tragic accidents.
You don’t have to drink to drive impaired. A lot of motorists will drive drowsy during these holidays too. Driving a vehicle without adequate rest can negatively impact one’s abilities behind the wheel. In 2015, over 800 people were killed because of drowsy driving. There are many factors that can lead to driving drowsy. If you’re out in the heat all day, driving long distances, and in an unfamiliar area, your driving could be impaired.
We encourage everyone to drive safely this summer. However, if you’re injured in an accident, give us a call. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we’ll call you at a more convenient time.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law