It is the holiday season in the US. While you may be breathing easy having made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, you know that you have to gear right back up again. Christmas and New Years are right around the corner.
Unfortunately, one of the most common themes during the holidays is drunk driving crashes. The period from Thanksgiving through New Years is the most dangerous on the roadway. With a multitude of company holiday parties and the festive spirit, there are far too many drunk drivers on the roadways of Pennsylvania.
Crash Estimations for the Holidays
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses statistical forecasting to predict the total traffic crash fatalities that will occur at various points throughout the year. They are able to use data from previous years to estimate what we can expect this year.
Their results are alarming.
The NHTSA says that we can expect there to be approximately 800 total traffic fatalities from Christmas to New Year’s Day (from December 24 to January 1).
When we look at the NHTSA data from previous years, we can see that the data proves that holidays are particularly dangerous times on the roadways. In 2018, there was a total of 1,087 traffic fatalities from Christmas to New Years.
What Are the Statistics for Pennsylvania?
Overall, there were 9,811 total alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania during the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were 331 fatalities and 6,227 injuries. When we look at the breakdown of specific holidays, we can see that drivers should be careful this time of year. While Thanksgiving saw the largest number of total alcohol-related crashes of all holidays, Christmas and New Years are close behind.
Alcohol-Related Crashes Can Be Severe
Alcohol-involved crashes tend to be more severe than other traffic crashes. When a person drinks, their reaction times are slower, and they tend to drive at higher speeds. In many cases, a drunk driver does not touch the brakes before an impact. While alcohol-involved crashes were only 8% of the total traffic crashes in Pennsylvania last year, they accounted for 28% of all traffic crash fatalities.
Those who survive an alcohol-involved crash often sustain serious injuries. It is not uncommon to see the following injuries in the aftermath of a DUI crash:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Significant disfigurement
Survivors of DUI crashes often require extensive medical treatment, which can lead to tremendous medical bills. If a victim cannot work while they recover, or if they are permanently disabled, they could lose the income they need to support themselves and their families.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash and it wasn’t their fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices’ Philadelphia car accident attorneys to get a free case evaluation.
Make a Plan for the Holidays
You need to be responsible anytime you plan to drink, particularly around the holidays. If you plan to drink over Christmas and New Years, you should never drink and drive. There are safe alternatives. Make sure you have a designated driver or use a ridesharing service to get you from place to place.
Before you get behind the wheel drunk, consider this statistic – In 2018, 75% of the fatalities in drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania were the drunk driver themselves. 90% of the overall drunk driving fatalities were occupants in the vehicle with the drunk driver (including the driver).