Prepare now for holiday drunk driving

As the holiday season approaches, Minnesota residents should be prepared for increased dangers on the road.

As November is upon us, it is common for many Minnesotans to put their attention to the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s usher in a time of celebration and family. However, along the way, these holidays can also usher in some of the deadliest times on area roads.

Drunk driving over holidays

USA Today indicates that according to the National Safety Council, these three holidays occupy three spots on the list of the top six dangerous holidays for drunk driving. According to BACtrack.com, the number of DUI arrests between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day jumps each year.

It is interesting to note that of these three holidays, Thanksgiving ranks higher for its drunk driving danger even than Christmas and New Year’s. Some of that could be because it always spans a weekend. Statistics show that the day of the week that a particular holiday falls on does impact the number of drunk driving accidents that happen. This year, Christmas and New Year’s Day will both be on Fridays, thereby potentially increasing the risk compared to other years.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration make the reality easy to see. A look at the number of drunk driving deaths per day over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays from 2001 to 2005 shows the following:

  • Over New Year’s, 54 people per day died at the hands of drunk drivers. That represented 41 percent of all traffic fatalities.
  • Over Christmas, 45 people per day died at the hands of drunk drivers. That represented 38 percent of all traffic fatalities.
  • For all non-holiday days in December, 33 people per day died at the hands of drunk drivers. That represented 28 percent of all traffic fatalities.

During the remainder of the year, 36 people per day died at the hands of drunk drivers. That represented 31 percent of all traffic fatalities.

What is the view in Minnesota?

BringInTheNews.com reports that Olmsted County occupies the number 13 spot on the list of the most dangerous Minnesota Counties for drunk driving between 2012 and 2014. There are a total of 87 counties in the state. Minnesotans for Safe Driving notes that 31 percent of the state’s vehicular fatalities in 2014 were attributed to impaired driving. Out of 271 deaths in motor vehicle accidents, 111 occurred in accidents involving substance impairment.

Options for victims

When avoiding these tragic accidents is not possible, further help is needed. Victims and family members should always be prepared to reach out to an attorney for help at these times.