Safe Holiday Driving

Fatalities Across the Nation for 2017

In 2017, the average number of fatalities for non-holiday times of 2017 were 102 a day, while there were 119 deaths a day related to car crashes occurring during the six major holiday periods in 2017. These holiday periods include New Year’s, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day of 2018.

Total Vehicle Crashes in the USA Resulting in Some Type of Injury for 2017

According to police reports, during 2017, the number of car crashes requiring the towing of at least one vehicle from the scene totaled nearly 3 million. The Crash Abbreviated Injury Scale (CAIS) is the method used to categorize the level of injuries sustained during vehicle crashes.

Annual motor vehicle crash injury breakdown for 2017:

  • There were approximately 81,433 vehicle crashes resulting in injury levels that were considered serious or resulted in death. Of these crashes, nearly 4,000 involved maximum CAIS, untreatable injuries.
  • Roughly 1 million of the 3 million crashes of 2017 had occupants who suffered minor to moderate level injuries.
  • The occupants of more than a million vehicles that were involved in crashes sustained no injuries.

Predicting Future Injuries and Fatalities Related to Motor Vehicle Collisions During the Holiday Season

Analyzing and calculating the number of motor vehicle crashes that resulted in fatalities and injuries allows for an accurate prediction as to what can be expected in the year to come. These holiday predictions can provide the public with warnings and alerts that could reduce the number of crash injuries, and fatalities. Statistical forecasting finds that from Christmas to New Year’s Day of 2020, the number of occupants in vehicle crashes who will have died totals 799.

Crashes in 2018 Involving Drivers Who Were Under the Influence of Alcohol

Individuals with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dL or above are considered intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 states. In 2018, 29 percent of the traffic fatalities across the nation involved at least one driver with a BAC of .08 g/dL or above. Furthermore, in 2018, one fatality due to an alcohol-impaired driver occurred every 50 minutes.

Breakdown of the vehicles in 2018 involved in fatal crashes caused by driving under the influence:

  • Passenger cars – 21 percent.
  • Motorcycles – 25 percent.
  • Large trucks – 3 percent.
  • Light trucks – 19 percent.

Fatality breakdown based on the role of the 10,511 people who sustained fatal injuries in 2018 due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes is as follows:

  • Drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or above – 6,364 persons (61 percent).
  • Vehicle occupants riding with the alcohol-impaired driver – 1,389 persons (13 percent).
  • Occupants of another motor vehicle – 1,580 (15 percent).
  • Nonoccupants – 1,178 persons (11 percent).

Estimated Cost of Alcohol-Impaired Crashes

The estimated annual cost of alcohol-impaired crashes was $44 billion: This estimation pertains to 2010, which is the most recent study detailing cost data that is available.

Economic costs included in this figure are:

  • Medical costs.
  • Legal expenses.
  • Court expenses.
  • Workplace losses.
  • Lost productivity.
  • Insurance administration.
  • Medical services (emergency).
  • Property damage.
  • Congestion following the car crash.

While the $44 billion represents the tangible losses resulting from an alcohol-impaired traffic crash, the costs associated with serious injury or death, including loss of quality-of-life for those suffering serious injuries and those who lost a loved one are not represented in this estimate. When the quality of life is considered, the cost of societal harm for alcohol-impaired crashes is estimated at $201.1 billion.

12 Safety Tips for Holiday Travel

With family gatherings and parties scheduled from late November to mid-January, more people are traveling. When compared to the other forms of transportation, traveling by car results in the highest number of fatalities during the holiday season. However, by taking some basic precautions, you can ensure you arrive safely and injury-free at your holiday destination.

Holiday travel tips:

  1. Carry an emergency preparedness kit in your car that includes a cell phone charger.
  2. Prepare your car for winter travel before heading off on your trip.
  3. Avoid driving while you are drowsy.
  4. Plan ahead for heavy traffic.
  5. Expect delays.
  6. Eliminate distractions (e.g., your cell phone, eating, adjusting your navigation system, etc.).
  7. If you plan to drink alcoholic beverages, make sure you designate a sober driver in advance.
  8. In case of an incident, have your contact information for roadside assistance on hand.
  9. Wear your seatbelt and make sure occupants are wearing their seatbelts (especially children).
  10. Obey traffic laws and do not speed.
  11. Keep the weather and road conditions in mind so you can adjust your speed as needed.
  12. Remember to be patient, everyone is in a hurry to reach their destination.

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