In 2016, 103 millions people drove the side streets and highways across the United States between December 23 and January 3. The weeks between late November and early January bring millions of families and friends together nationwide to celebrate the holidays. Whether it’s family get-togethers, parties with friends, or work events, the holiday season is laden with dozens of events to celebrate — and travel for.
For many, the holidays means a season of drinking. Sixteen percent of adults say they drink more than usual during the holidays and 50 percent of people plays a role in their family’s holiday gatherings. Wine with holiday dinners and celebratory flutes of champagne seem to be an almost mandatory part of the festivities.
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Due to the higher rates of alcohol consumption, it only makes sense that a considerable number of intoxicated individuals get back into their cars to drive home. Those who do not have a designated driver or an alternative way to get home safely will often get behind the wheel, endangering everyone around them.
Unsurprisingly, statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration prove this. During the year, 28 percent of traffic-related deaths are a result of or involve a drunk driver. During the holidays specifically, this number spikes up to 40 percent of all street and highway accidents involving an intoxicated individual behind the wheel.
Just how dangerous is driving drunk during the holidays and what can you do to keep you and your loved ones safe?
Statistics on Drunk Driving During the Holidays
In case 40 percent of accidents isn’t alarming enough, SCRAM Systems rounded up additional data to find out how impactful alcohol is on the roads during the holiday season. For example, 51 percent of drunk drivers with a DUI charge report that they drink more during the holidays compared to the rest of the year. This creates dangerous roadways and causes an alarming number of traffic accidents.
According to the statistics reviewed by SCRAM Systems:
- 1,200 people will be killed in alcohol-related collisions during November and December
- 2–3 times more people die in accidents involving a drunk driver during the holidays
- 25,000 will be injured in an accident caused by alcohol sometime during the holiday season
Driving while intoxicated is dangerous and irresponsible at any time of the year. Activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the International Drunk Driving Prevention Association (IDDPA) work tirelessly to draw attention to the alarming rates of drunk drivers on the roads.
But driving drunk during the holidays with such high rates of other intoxicated drivers is even worse.
Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe During the Holidays
It can be easy to forget who drove themselves to a holiday party when alcohol is involved, but ensuring that everyone commutes responsibility could save a life. During holiday get-togethers, keep an eye on those who choose to drink. Note whether they drove themselves or if they have a designated driver along with them.
If they do not, ensure they find a safe way home with a sober person driving. Be sure to take their keys away so they don’t attempt to get behind the wheel. Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are another helpful way to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
If you haven’t been drinking and have to get yourself home, see if there is anyone else you can give a ride to. Avoid driving while tired, especially during the holiday season. You want to be as alert as possible and ready to react if a dangerous situation arises. A night on a friend’s couch or the extra charge of a taxi is always safer than risking your life or becoming a danger to others on the road.
Being proactive during the holiday season can help ensure that both you and your loved ones stay safe during the holiday season. If you’ve been drinking, take the extra precaution and find a ride home. Doing so is not only a gift to yourself, but to your family and everyone else on the road.