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Holiday Season Brings Increased Risk of Drunk Driving Crashes

On Dec. 18, a new statistical analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that the daily death toll from drunk driving crashes is significantly higher during the holiday season than the rest of the year.

The NHTSA data shows that an average of 45 drunk driving crashes occur daily during the Christmas period, a figure that increases to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday. The year-round alcohol-related crash average is 36 per day.

Furthermore, 38 percent of all traffic fatalities during the Christmas period, and 41 percent during the New Year’s holiday, are attributed to drunk drivers or motorcycle riders. Drunk drivers accounts for 31 percent of fatalities throughout the rest of the year.

“If you’ve had too much holiday spirit you’d better find a safe and sober ride. Driving while drunk is not worth the risk,” said Peters.

In response to the increased risk of crashes and fatal accidents during the holidays, Peters and NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason said law enforcement agencies will embark on an intensive, nationwide crackdown on drunk drivers throughout the holiday season.

Peters and Nason also referenced a public awareness campaign designed to deter drivers from drinking before getting behind the wheel: “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” The campaign is comprised of $7 million in national television and radio advertising.

“The consequences of driving drunk are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving drunk can be overwhelming,” Nason said.

For more information, view: Fatalities Related to Alcohol-Impaired Driving During the Christmas and New Year's Day Holiday Periods.

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