According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300,000 motorists choose to drink and drive each day. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that an average of 10,000 people lose their lives on America’s highways each year as a result of DUI crashes – one every 48 minutes. In fact, an average of one in three motorists involved in crashes was found to be intoxicated and 42% of those killed in crashes tested positive for drugs. Driving impaired is clearly never a good idea. With statistics this grim, you’re probably wondering which holiday has the most DUI crashes so you can take action to stay safer on the road.
More Than 800 Fatalities On Thanksgiving
If you guessed the extended Thanksgiving holiday, you are correct! The NHTSA reports that Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on our roadways with more than 800 fatalities recorded annually from 6:00 pm Wednesday to 5:59 am Monday.
Drinksgiving. Blackout Wednesday. Danksgiving. Black Wednesday. Thanksgiving Eve.
These catchy terms refer to the recent cultural phenomenon of transforming the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday into one filled to the brim with alcoholic beverages and, in some cases, drugs.
For many, heading home for the holidays has been replaced or supplemented with an all-out party extravaganza. With most family and friends off of work on Thanksgiving day, the Wednesday afternoon and evening before the holiday has become a time to meet up at bars or private homes to catch up, let loose, and enjoy the company of one’s “chosen family” of friends and acquaintances. In many cases, childhood friends, college buddies, and old flames return to their hometowns from across the nation and around the world on this day, making it their only opportunity to reconnect all year. While Thanksgiving itself is still often reserved to enjoy a meal and spending time with family, the Wednesday before has morphed into one of the most social – and deadly – days of the year.
West Virginia Ranked In Top 10 for New Years’s Eve Fatal Crashes
Did you guess New Year’s Eve? If so, you weren’t far off. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, an average of 45 drunk driving fatalities occur every day across the nation. On New Year’s Eve, we consistently witness huge amounts of alcohol consumption, accompanied by high rates of driving under the influence, traffic accidents, and fatalities. According to an investigative report by WBOY, the NHTSA has rated West Virginia as the state with the 8th highest amount of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities. Notably, the Northeast in general experiences some of the highest rates of fatal accidents in general on normal days, as well as holidays, as shown in this informational map designed with data compiled from numerous reporting systems.
DUI Deaths at Record Highs
With drunk driving deaths at a record high throughout West Virginia, law enforcement agencies are stepping up education, monitoring and enforcement campaigns in attempts to reduce impaired driving and preventable fatalities. Aside from the dangers of driving while intoxicated, this poor decision can also lead to significant criminal and civil penalties. If you plan to drink, plan to do so responsibly.
Stay Safe On the Roads This Holiday Season
Celebrate the holidays. Enjoy time with your favorite people – but do it safely. Take note of the following tips to help protect yourself, as well as those around you, so you can make it to your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday celebrations this year and for many years to come. When you head to and from holiday gatherings and get togethers this holiday season, remember, drunk driving is not just illegal in West Virginia. Drunk driving kills friends and neighbors – and tears families apart.
-It is never OK to drink and drive. If you plan to consume alcohol (even one drink), be sure to designate a sober driver in advance, arrange for public transportation, or plan to stay overnight at your destination.
-If you will be hosting a holiday gathering, be sure all guests have a safe way to get home or a place to sleep for the night.
-Most DUI-related crashes and fatalities occur between the hours of 1am – 3am. Unless driving during these hours is absolutely necessary, avoid the roadways during this time.
-Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times when behind the wheel. Keep your eyes on the road, follow the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, avoid distractions, and be prepared to respond to the unexpected.
-If you witness a vehicle you believe may be operated by an impaired driver, do not engage. Stay as far away from the vehicle as possible.
-If a friend or loved one has had too much to drink, do the right thing. Take away the car keys and make alternate arrangements to get them home safely.
Seriously Injured by a Negligent DUI Driver?
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured by a DUI driver? Was a loved one killed as a result of a negligent alcohol or substance-impaired driver? Let us know. Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law protects the rights of DUI accident victims throughout West Virginia. Since 1952, our law firm has offered aggressive, proven legal counsel designed to get the best possible results for each client. Contact us today for a free initial case consultation: (304) 292-4381. Time is of the essence. Do not delay.