Some holidays come with a sharp increase in the number of fatal car accidents. Surprisingly, though, statistics show that the Christmas holiday is not one of them. The average number of fatal accidents that happen per day between 6pm on Christmas Eve and 6am on January 2nd is actually lower than on a normal day over the rest of the year.
Holidays See Fewer Fatal Accidents than a Normal Day of the Year
The numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and look at 2017, the last year the final numbers are available.
That year, there was an average of 102 road fatalities every day in the U.S. One would expect that there would be an increase in the number of fatal accidents during certain holidays. That plays out for three other major holidays in the U.S. that year:
- Fourth of July saw an average of 133 fatalities over the 4.5 days of the holiday,
- Labor Day saw 107 fatalities per day over the 3.5 days of the holiday, and
- Thanksgiving saw an average of 117 fatalities every day from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after it.
Christmas and New Year’s holidays, however, actually saw fewer fatalities in 2017. There were only 978 traffic fatalities over the 10.5 days of the holidays, for an average of 93 per day.
A decrease is especially surprising, considering the fact that alcohol is a common element of many Christmas holidays. According to the National Safety Council, drunk driving is more likely to be a cause of car accidents that happen over the holidays. On a typical day, 28% to 31% of car crashes involve a driver above the legal limit. Over the Christmas holiday, those numbers increase to between 36% and 42%.
Difference Likely Hangs on Several Factors
There are likely several factors that, working together, could be why fatal accidents tend to happen less over the Christmas holiday than others.
One has to do with the notion of “Christmas Holiday” that the NHTSA uses. Unlike other holidays, it includes several less-traveled days between Christmas and New Year’s. Including these days in the holiday could reduce the number of miles traveled and the number of fatal crashes.
Another is the fact that alcohol consumption over the Christmas holiday is different than some other holidays – notably the notoriously dangerous Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends. Unlike on these holidays, Christmas usually involves drinking with friends and family members at a house, where there is a safe place to stay after hours and where they are more likely to be kept from drunk driving, especially at night.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in western Missouri over the holidays, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office can help. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.