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Drunk driving surges on Saturdays and public holidays

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Criminal Law

Drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts and around the country claimed more than 10,000 lives in 2022 and cost the nation’s economy approximately $130 billion. Accidents caused by intoxicated drivers occur every day, but some days are far more dangerous for road users than others. To find out which days drivers should avoid venturing onto the roads, the financial advice website MoneyGeek analyzed drunk driving accident data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2006 and 2020.

Summer is drunk driving season

People tend to consume more alcohol when they do not have to work the next day, so the MoneyGeek researchers were not surprised to find that almost a quarter of drunk driving accidents take place on Saturday. People also drink more when they attend social gatherings, which are far more common when the weather is accommodating. When the researchers looked for seasonal trends, they discovered that intoxicated driving accidents surge in the summer.

Perilous holidays

The data reveals that the biggest increases in drunk driving accidents and deaths occur on public holidays. The chances of being involved in a deadly accident involving an intoxicated driver increase by:

  • 116% on New Year’s Day
  • 78% on Independence Day
  • 56% on Thanksgiving Day
  • 54% on Labor Day
  • 50% on Memorial Day

Christmas Day stood out to the researchers because it bucks the trend observed on other holidays. On Dec. 25, the chances of being killed by a drunk driver actually fall by 9%.

Predictable results

The results of the MoneyGeek research are not particularly surprising. People drink more when they are enjoying time with friends and family, and they also consume more alcohol when they do not have to worry about getting up to go to work the next morning. Law enforcement is also aware of this, which is why police departments around the country launch drunk driving crackdowns that feature sobriety checkpoints on weekends and public holidays.