CASPER, Wyo — According Autoinsurance.org, Memorial Day is the nation’s second deadliest holiday for driving. From 2016-2018, the group counted 1,344 fatal crashes over the 3-year period, an average of 448. Independence Day, the #1 most deadly holiday, say 449.67 fatal crashes on average.
The study expects a spike in fatal crashes as states begin to reopen businesses, beaches, movie theaters, and other recreational destinations.
“Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, 2020, will be the first major holiday to happen under the tiered reopening of the American economy,” the study states. “That means an influx of people will be hitting the road.”
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According to Google Mobility Reports, which tracks mobility by cell phone GPS, travel in the United States to national parks, beaches, and marinas had risen 32% above baseline during the period between April 7 to May 16.
Authors of the study claimed to cite 15,000 data points in their methodology, and “relied on data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA).”
The National Safety Council estimates between 326 to 410 traffic deaths for the entire 3-day weekend, but says uncertainty is higher due to the impacts of COVID-19.
“Let’s face it, people like to have fun on the holidays,” said Douglas Dedrick, founder and lead researcher of HealingLaw.com, to study authors. “This means long nights, parties, and often a few too many drinks. Unfortunately, people, especially younger, inexperienced drivers, may not take others into consideration as much as they ought to.”
Dedrick added, “Not only are drivers more likely to be intoxicated during the holidays, people generally get less sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you are on holiday and there are so many activities to take part in.”
According to the NHTSA, most accidents occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. . However, on holidays and weekends, intoxicated driving poses a whole new threat. According to data available from BACtrack, most alcohol-related accidents occur between midnight and 3 a.m.
The study encourages drivers to be most vigilant or avoid driving during those times.