Our Boston car accident lawyers recently provided tips for safe travel over the Memorial Holiday. Driving carefully is especially important because there will be more motorists on the road, which leads to an increased risk of accidents. For those who are heading out to visit friends or enjoy a vacation weekend, the news that travel will be heavy this year raises an important question: just how dangerous is Memorial Day and how big of an increased risk of collisions is there?
The National Safety Council (NSC) recently took a close look at just how much of an impact Memorial Day has on traffic deaths and injuries. Memorial Day was defined as beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Monday. The holiday always spans 3.25 days.
How Big is the Increased Risk of Holiday Traffic?
The NSC provided data on the number of deaths that occurred over Memorial Day from 2004 to 2009. Over the course of these years, the lowest number of fatalities (414) occurred in 2008 and the highest number occurred in 2005 when there were 512 people killed just over the 3.25 day period of time.
This is significantly more fatalities than the number of people who are killed during similar non-holiday periods. In fact, the average number of traffic deaths during the six Memorial Days from 2004 to 2009 was 12.2 percent higher than similar non-holiday periods. The difference becomes statistically significant once it reaches five percent.
To determine the difference, the Memorial Day holiday period was compared with the weekends both immediately before and immediately after the holiday. The researchers looked at the number of deaths that had occurred during the same times (6:00 Friday to 11:59 Monday).
Some studies have indicated that the biggest risk actually occurs on Memorial Day itself, rather than the other two days of the weekend. A study comparing FARS data from 1975 to 1985, for example, revealed that fatalities were 32 percent higher on Memorial Day but were normal on the other days during the holiday weekend.
USA Today also reported on the added risks on Memorial Day, indicating that there was actually a 13.1 percent increase on average traffic deaths over the weekend. The reason given for the increase in fatalities was simply more travelers on the road.
Whatever the specific reason for the increase, the high number of deaths on Memorial Day has earned it a spot on the list of the six most dangerous holidays for drivers. Other high-risk days include:
- New Year’s
- Labor Day
- Independence Day
Alcohol consumption plays a role in increasing collisions on these days, along with the added traffic. New Year’s Day and Independence Day are the holidays that are most likely to see a dramatic increase in drunk driving collisions. However, drivers attending Memorial Day picnics and parties may also be at risk of having a few too many drinks before getting behind the wheel.
Drivers need to be aware of the added dangers and need to be extremely cautious when out on Memorial Day because of the risk of a collision.
Contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777 today.
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