Traffic deaths typically rise over the holidays and Christmas 2017 was no exception. The period saw Christmas highway deaths rise compared to the previous year.
A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted traffic-related deaths in Georgia over the Christmas travel period surpassed the 2016 total with hours left.
Police recorded 11 fatalities on the state’s highways since the travel period started at 6 p.m., the Friday before Christmas, according to the state Department of Public Safety. The 102-hour window finished Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.
In 2016, eight people lost their lives during the Christmas period, officials stated in a news release.
The officials were not making a like-for-like comparison. The period is 24 hours longer this year, Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Tracey Watson said.
The GSP reported 392 crashes with 208 injuries in 2016 during Christmas travel.
Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in the release a combination of factors are more likely to lead to a fatal crash. He stated:
“Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt,”
Christmas and New Year are associated with more drunk driving and a spike in road deaths. However, the deadliest holiday is not the one many people expect it to be, according to CBS.
Drivers are a staggering four times more likely to die in a traffic accident over the Memorial Day weekend as on a regular weekend, according to ValuePenguin.
The personal finance website pulled traffic fatalities over all the major holidays using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It found an average of 312 fatal accidents across the country on Memorial Day over the period 2011 to 2015. The other big holidays in the summer were close behind. Labor Day averaged 308 fatalities and the Fourth of July, 307.
The most deadly single day, as opposed to a weekend, is July 4. Many families are driving at night to and from fireworks displays, meaning there is more traffic on the roads.
In recent years, more drivers have been on the roads on holidays as the economy has improved. More than 34 million people were on the highways during Memorial Day in 2017.
Statistically, New Year’s weekend was the second-least dangerous holiday according to the statistics, with an average of 245 fatal accidents a year between 2011 and 2015.
Police typically have a strong presence on the roads over New Year’s Eve and a powerful anti-drunk driving message is put out on media channels. It may be deterring drivers from getting on the road.
Although the Atlanta area sees large numbers of serious and fatal accidents, the dubious distinction of being the deadliest city over holiday weekends is split between Los Angeles in California and Houston in Texas.
If you have been injured due to the actions of a drunk driver or a reckless driver, please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.