Holidays & The Impaired Driving Crackdown

As Labor Day stands as the second most deadly holiday for motor vehicle fatalities (after Memorial Day), it’s unsurprising that crackdowns are getting more serious. August 16th marked the inception of ‘Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over,’ a national campaign against motorcycling while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The campaign focuses around the end of summer festivities, culminating in the extended Labor Day weekend. But beyond national campaigns and police crackdowns, what can be done to reduce the number of crash fatalities around holidays? Let’s take a look.

What do Statistics Tell Us?

Looking at 2015 crash statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in February 2017, there were over 10,000 crashes involving alcohol that year alone. This summary of crash statistics also followed trends from 2006-2015, seeing the severity of crashes decreasing, while the number of fatal crashes increased by 7%. It is undeniable that a fraction of these crashes were caused by distracted driving, while the others are a combination of other circumstances, including impaired driving.

With this limited information in mind, let’s think about why holidays are more dangerous for drivers. First, there are simply more people on the roads. Lots of driving trips occur for holidays. In 2014, an estimate of almost 35 million Americans were expected to travel more than 50 miles for the extended Labor Day weekend, according to AAA. In addition to more drivers on the road, with holidays come celebrations. This adds distraction, not to mention drugs and alcohol into the mix, therefore more danger.

So What’s to be Done?

There are a few options that individual drivers can do to stay safer on the roads during holidays. The first and most obvious, is to stay closer to home over the holiday weekend. But if you’ve set your sights on a long distance trip, be sure to do a few things. First, avoid all distractions, monitor your alertness, and have a plan if you get into an accident. In the case of an accident, see our piece on what to avoid and know who you’re going to contact if you need help or representation. Larger cities and destinations have plenty of people to turn to. Atlanta, a popular place to visit for Labor Day weekend (curious? Check it out), so having support like is optimal if you do end up in a crash.

But first and foremost to avoid crashes during the holidays? Don’t drive while buzzed, high, or intoxicated. That simple. While having a designated driver almost seems like something of the past, given the rise of Uber, if that method works for you, make an effort to stick to it. Otherwise, download the Uber app before you go to parties or have sleeping arrangements set up beforehand. The more drivers who avoid the road will not only prevent crashes and fatalities, but also make the holidays much better for everyone! Impaired Driving Crackdowns are important, but there is more we all can do to make the roads safer this Labor Day weekend.

Author: Brandon Park