What Time of the Year is Most Common For Drunk Driving Accidents?

Every 52 minutes, someone dies in a drunk-driving crash, accounting for more than a quarter of roadway deaths in our nation. In 2019 alone, more than 10,000 people lost their lives, and 300,000 suffered injuries because of a drunk driver.

While getting hit by a driver under the influence is a year-round risk, are there certain times of the year that tend to be more common than others?

To determine the most dangerous time of year for drivers, our Carrollton drunk driving accident lawyers analyzed the three most recent years of DUI Crash Fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database. We used their data to calculate the average percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes by month from 2017-2019. We also based our rankings on the average amount of DUI fatalities on six federal holiday weekends for which fatalities are tracked using the same three-year period.

Here’s what we found:

Summer Is the Deadliest Time of Year

Summer brings on the beginning of barbecues, vacations and plenty of events where people drink. But, sadly, what should be a season of fun in the sun, usually comes with a spike in impaired driving accidents.

Summertime is also host to a string of holidays that find people drinking during the day and well into the night. Among police and first responders, the period between Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day mark what’s known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”.

And the data shows that this stretch of time more than lived up to its name for the past three years. From 2017-2019, more drunk driving fatalities consistently occurred in June (9.1%), July (9.4%), August (9%) and September (9.2%) compared to other months throughout the year.

The Six Most Dangerous Holidays

Whether it’s a few beers during the Fourth of July or spiked eggnog during Christmas, the holidays aren’t known as a time of alcoholic restraint. Unfortunately, when alcohol is involved, these happy holidays can turn into tragic stories. Too often, someone leaves the party thinking they’re okay to drive after one too many drinks.

Here are the top six holidays our Carrollton drunk driving accident lawyers found have the highest rates of fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers.

Rank & Holiday3-Year Fatal Crash TotalAvg Fatal Crashes
Thanksgiving1,395465
4th of July1,312437
Memorial Day1,307435
Labor Day1,282427
New Years1,143381
Christmas931310

1. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday weekend of the year, with a total of 1,395 fatalities resulting from drunk driving.

So, what makes this holiday so dangerous?

Thanksgiving’s high ranking can be attributed to three factors:

  • Thanksgiving is traditionally among the busiest times on our nation’s roadways.
  • People drink more than usual during the holidays.
  • Binge drinking around this holiday has become something of a cultural phenomenon. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is now referred to by some as “Black Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving” and is a big night for bars.

When you combine more drivers on the road with widespread social binge drinking, you get a recipe for disaster.

2. 4th of July

Lurking among the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer is the second deadliest day of them all—the 4th of July. BBQs and excessive drinking are all too common with Fourth of July celebrations, and the data reflects this fact, with our team ranking it as the second deadliest holiday of the year.

With 1312 fatalities crashes occurring over our three-year analysis period, this holiday weekend averages 437 drunk-driving-related fatalities per year.

3. Memorial Day

While Memorial Day is supposed to be a somber time of reflection as we honor our nation’s heroes, it’s the holiday weekend with the third-highest rate of drunk driving accidents.

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of the Summer—and with it, the increased risk of DUI incidents—as people gear up to travel, go boating and party. Over our three-year study period, Memorial Day resulted in a total of 1,307 fatal crashes—just five fewer crashes than Independence Day.

4. Labor Day

Ranking as the fourth most dangerous holiday is Labor Day: the last holiday of the summer season and one of the deadliest times on the road. Labor Day is linked with excessive drinking as party-goers are trying to have their last summer hurrah and make the most out of their three-day weekend.

The study conducted by our Carrollton drunk driving accident lawyers shows that there were a total of 1,282 drunk-driving-related fatalities during Labor Day weekend over a three-year period, resulting in an average of 427 deaths per year.

5. New Year’s Eve

It should come as no surprise that New Year’s Eve is the fifth most dangerous holiday because drinking alcohol is built into the celebration. With people ringing in the New Year with one too many glasses of champagne and then getting behind the wheel, the chances of drunk-driving accidents skyrocket.

Our study shows that 1,143 fatalities occurred due to drunk drivers over the course of a three-year period. And according to the New York Times, most of these drunk-driving fatalities on New Year’s Eve occur after midnight.

6. Christmas

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, but it’s also the sixth most dangerous holiday on the roadways due to higher-than-usual alcohol consumption, inclement weather and increased travel that surrounds this day.

Because people tend to stay put on Christmas Day, the number of fatal drunk driving accidents is significantly lower than the other holidays on our list. However, the risks of encountering an intoxicated driver are still there.

Our three-year analysis finds that 931 drunk-driving-related fatalities occurred during the Christmas holiday weekend resulting in an average of 310 deaths per year.

What Are Your Legal Options After A Drunk Driver Has Hit You?

Innocent victims who suffer after getting hit by a driver under the influence should immediately consult with a team of Carrollton drunk driving accident lawyers. Though the driver will likely be subject to criminal charges and fines, you’ll need to hire an attorney if you want to receive the compensation for damages and injuries you are entitled to.

You have the option of directly filing a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance carrier; however, that’s often easier said than done. Insurance companies know a lot of money is at stake when their insured is responsible for a drunk driving accident, so they’ll often play tricks like trying to minimize the claim or attempt to argue you were partially responsible.

A car accident lawyer can go up against the insurance company for you and help you receive fair compensation for damages such as:

  • Lost wages from missing work
  • Vehicle repair bills
  • Mental Anguish
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and emotional suffering

An experienced car wreck attorney knows the paperwork to file, the facts that matter, and who to interview to help strengthen your case and receive a fair settlement.

Turn to The Law Offices of Tim O'Hare for Experienced Carrollton Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While holidays should be a time to celebrate with friends and family, sadly, these days often lead to tragedy when someone under the influence decides to get behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one killed by a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney.

At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, our Carrollton drunk driving accident lawyers fight to hold negligent drivers accountable for the heartache caused by their actions. We help victims get the compensation they need to recover following a crash. Get a free consultation today and find out how we can help you get the justice you deserve.