The year-end holiday season will kick off with more than 41 million Americans hitting the road for trips of 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to AAA estimates, and authorities are preaching caution during the final two months of the year as holiday travel, shopping and congestion too often clash with drunk drivers and winter weather.
While the “Don’t Drink and Drive” message may be at its loudest when it comes to New Year’s Eve, more people were seriously injured in Illinois car accidents on Thanksgiving (961) and Christmas (841) last year than during any other holiday.
The New Year’s holiday reported the fewest injuries (575) but the most fatalities (10) of the trio of year-end holidays. Nine people were killed on Christmas and 8 died over the Christmas holiday, according to figures recently released by the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of its 2008 traffic study. More information from the study is available by visiting the Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog.
Chicago drunk driving accidents and drunk drivers nationwide are responsible for large numbers of holiday fatalities.
On average from 2001 to 2005, about 40 percent of Christmas and New Year fatalities nationwide involved a drunk driver compared to 28 percent during the rest of December, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2007, drunk driving accidents made Thanksgiving the deadliest holiday of the year, claiming 548 lives, followed by Labor Day (519), Memorial Day (491), Christmas (468), New Year’s (391) and Fourth of July (200).
At particular risk are young people, according to federal statistics. More than 300 young drivers ages 21 to 24 are involved in fatal crashes during the last half of December each year. One-third of the 1,710 deaths from 2002-2007 were the result of drunk driving accidents that claimed 649 lives.
In Illinois during the 2007 Christmas-New Year’s Holiday, 214 young drivers were killed and almost half –92–were impaired.
Nationwide, an average of 36 people a day are killed by a drunk driver, compared to 54 per day during the three-day New Year’s Holiday and 45 per day during Christmas.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident, contact the Chicago drunk driving accident lawyers and Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.