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Memorial Day Crash Fatalities Are Highest of All Holidays

As Memorial Day weekend begins, we wish to note that more fatal crashes occur during this weekend than during any other holiday weekend. What is more, drunk driving is responsible for the majority of Heavy highway traffic - altizer lawthese crashes, more than on any other holiday.

Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol has less effect on them than on others. Some believe that smaller amounts of alcohol do not impair driving ability. Consider this chart from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

The Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration

On average, there are 312 crashes over the Memorial Day Weekend. Drunk Drivers accounted for 40.3 percent of those crashes.

Drugged Driving Kills

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a reminder of the kinds of drugs that can impair driving, “including alcohol, some over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and illegal drugs.

  • Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine can make drivers more aggressive and reckless.
  • Using two or more drugs at the same time, including alcohol, can amplify the impairing effects of each drug a person has consumed.
  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Read and follow all warning labels before driving, and note that warnings against “operating heavy machinery” include driving a vehicle.

Impaired drivers can’t accurately assess their own impairment – which is why no one should drive after using any impairing substances. Remember: If you feel different, you drive different.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, 21.4 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year and 12.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, reported that 43.6 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2016 tested positive for drugs and over half of those drivers were positive for two or more drugs.

Drowsy Driving

The number of accident fatalities attributable to drowsy driving is difficult to calculate. Often, drowsy driving is not noted or reported.

NHTSA’s census of fatal crashes and estimate of traffic-related crashes and injuries rely on police and hospital reports to determine the incidence of drowsy-driving crashes. NHTSA estimates that in 2015, 90,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 41,000 people injured and more than 800 deaths. But there is broad agreement across the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities that this is an underestimate of the impact of drowsy driving.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving compels a great deal of attention today. Although people may be distracted by conversations in a vehicle, listening to the radio or changing radio stations, or a range of other activities that draw the driver’s attention away from the road, the most concerning distraction today is the use of smartphones and other mobile phones. Texting while driving takes the driver’s attention from driving for 5 seconds or more. Five seconds is adequate time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. That is abundant time for a distracted driver to cause or to be involved in a crash. Many of these crashes involve one or more fatalities.

According to the CDC, each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1

In the interest of having a safer Memorial Day Weekend in 2019, please remember the

DEADLY D’s: Don’t drive drunk, drugged, drowsy or distracted.

Altizer Law, P.C., is an auto, truck, and bicycle accident attorney and a personal injury attorney. If you or a loved one is injured by a drunk, drugged, drowsy or distracted driver, call us. Bettina Altizer and her team fight for and win maximum financial compensation for our clients. We understand that when you are seriously injured, it’s about the money.

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