Holidays Are Upon Us and So Are More Vehicle Accidents
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, 'Cause no matter how far away you roam…” These are lyrics from one of our most beloved Christmas carols and one that’s especially meaningful because millions of people are taking to the roads this holiday season to be with the family and friends.
With more drivers on the road, more celebrations to attend, and more jingle bells ringing, there will, unfortunately, be more motor vehicle accidents resulting in serious injury and death on American roadways. Some of those collisions will involve large commercial trucks, and truck accidents are almost always more catastrophic than collisions involving smaller passenger vehicles. The massive size and weight of commercial trucks makes them capable of mass destruction when they collide with other vehicles or stationary objects along U.S. roadways.
Millions of Drivers; Thousands of Accidents
We have to share the road with truck drivers working long hours to get cargo to its destination. Just think about the number of UPS, FedEx, and other delivery trucks shipping massive amounts of cargo each and every day during the holiday season. Also, there are truckers out there driving long hours through the holiday season making sure our utilities are working smoothly, removing our waste, and carrying on with all the necessary travel our commercial truck industry cannot stop just because it’s a holiday.
Even though we should not have to share our road with impaired drivers, this time of year sees more drunk driving-related accidents and more DUI arrests than any other time of year. The night before Thanksgiving, known as “Black Wednesday,” and New Year’s Eve are two of the deadliest nights to drive in the United States.
Approximately 45,000 people are injured every year during the holiday season, and the average number of daily auto accidents deaths goes up 20% over Christmas. The number of auto accident fatalities over New Year’s Eve goes up 31%. With all the ride-sharing options available today, it’s really hard to believe that people still choose to drive after drinking alcohol.
Sobering Statistics on Holiday Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December 2016, exactly 3,067 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and of those fatalities, 781 people died in drunk driving-related crashes (that’s 25% of all vehicle deaths that year). In the four-year period from 2012 to 2016, over 14,450 people died in traffic accidents during December, and of that number 28% of deaths were due to drunk driving incidents.
What’s so disturbing about the statistics is that these deaths could have been prevented. All people have to do is not drive after drinking. With so many options these days to get home safely after drinking, there’s simply no excuse now more than ever before to never get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol.