Police officers have training about what drunk driving looks like, and they constantly monitor traffic for signs of intoxicated drivers. A police officer could arrest someone on a random Tuesday morning as easily as on a Saturday night.
Although drunk driving occurs at all times of day and throughout the year, there are statistically times when it is a bigger safety concern for the public. The holidays every year see a significant increase in fatal drunk driving collisions. Which holidays have the strongest association with impaired driving and traffic deaths?
New Year’s Eve and Day
The combination of staying up till midnight and toasting the new year with alcohol often means that there are many people headed home from holiday celebrations in the early hours of the morning on New Year’s Day who shouldn’t drive at all.
Experts know that New Year’s Day tends to see the biggest one-day increase in drunk driving crash risk every year, although weekends right before or after the holiday could also see elevated collision rates.
The Fourth of July
Many of the summer holidays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, see more outdoor alcohol consumption at parties and therefore more drunk driving. The Fourth of July, in particular, sees a significant uptick in impaired driving collisions both on the actual holiday and on days when communities have celebrations, like fireworks displays.
Not everybody gets a long weekend for Christmas, especially when the holiday falls in the middle of the week. However, most professionals can count on a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, which means a lot of overindulgence. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving sees a huge uptick in drinking at bars and restaurants, and drunk driving crashes tend to surge as a result.
Although many people do drink on Christmas, it is the major holiday with the lowest reported increase in crash risk. Many people stay home on Christmas day itself, which is one reason why the increased alcohol consumption on this holiday doesn’t always lead to increased death.
Those planning their celebrations for the holidays should govern their alcohol consumption or avoid driving to prevent potentially fatal collisions.