Drunk driving and the holidays

West Virginia residents should know the facts about the increased risk of drunk driving accidents during the major holiday times.

Most people in West Virginia are aware of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. That, however, does not prevent all drunk driving accidents from happening. These incidents can result in serious personal injuries and many even become fatal crashes because drivers make reckless decisions to drive vehicles after drinking too much.

During major holiday times, the rate of deaths attributed to drinking and driving increases and can be seen by tracking statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA compared its information for December accidents attributed to drunk drivers over a course of years from 2001 to 2005.

When looking at the 25 days in the month of December that are mapped to specific holidays, the NHTSA records show that 28 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents resulted from drunk driving accidents. When looking at the remaining days in the month of December that are mapped to specific holidays, the NHTSA records show that 40 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents resulted from drunk driving accidents.

Additional records for the year 2005 show a steady increase in drunk driving deaths when comparing non-holiday dates to those associated with Christmas and then New Year's holidays. For the days in the month of December not mapped to either of those two holidays, the NHTSA indicates an average of 34 deaths were recorded each day due to drunk driving crashes. Over the days mapped to Christmas that year an average of 46 deaths were recorded each day due to drunk driving crashes. Over the days mapped to New Year's that year an average of 55 deaths were recorded each day due to drunk driving crashes.

How does West Virginia stack up?

The above numbers give a view of the problem at a national level but the NHTSA also provides information about the problem of drunk driving in West Virginia specifically. Data shows the following for 2012:

  • In Kanawha County, seven out of 25 automotive fatalities were attributed to impaired driving crashes.
  • In Boone County, three out of nine automotive fatalities were attributed to impaired driving crashes.
  • In Putnam County, three out of 10 automotive fatalities were attributed to impaired driving crashes.
  • Berkeley County also lost seven people to drunk driving deaths. No other county in the state lost more lives in alcohol-related accidents that year.

Statewide, 95 out of 339 vehicular deaths were related to alcohol. Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicate that in 2012, 28 percent of all deaths from car crashes involved alcohol. That represents an increase over the prior year.

How to get help

When an accident happens, it is important for victims or their loved ones to take action. Contacting an attorney soon can help to secure the level of compensation that is needed.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury