Signs that the holiday season is close at hand abound, from brightly lit pine trees to twinkling lights on homes and businesses. Drinking and drunk driving are two other activities commonly associated with the holidays, and you might be on guard against a perceived increase in revelers consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
While tradition might tell you that this is an especially dangerous time of year for drunk driving, the statistics do not bear this out.
This does not mean it is safer to drive during November and December than at other times of the year. However, it does mean that the same precautions you use to stay safe throughout the rest of the year can also help keep you safe during the holidays.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that in 2021, there were over six million car wrecks of all types reported across the United States. This total included accidents that resulted in property damage only and accidents that left individuals injured or dead. In total, there were 42,939 individuals who were killed that year in motor vehicle accidents, including 931 who died in Missouri.
According to the NSC’s data, the months that saw the highest total of traffic fatalities were:
- 4,101 deaths recorded in October
- 4,013 fatalities in August
- 3,879 crash fatalities occurred in July
- 3,861 people died in September
- 3,789 motorist deaths in June
- 3,768 people died in May
The NSC’s data showed that January, November, and December each recorded fewer than 3,600 traffic-related deaths. There were 3,599 fatalities in November, 3,498 in December, and January 2021 only recorded 3,0999 motorist fatalities.
Nor was 2021 a statistical anomaly. Data from 2019 and 2020 were similar in that January, November, and December of those years all did not have the highest monthly number of traffic deaths in either year.
The trend suggested by national statistics is confirmed by state-specific data reported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
In 2022, October was the month that saw the highest number of total traffic accidents. A total of 12,549 wrecks were reported that month, followed by 12,301 reported in May. December 2022 was the month with the fewest reported wrecks.
National and state-level figures do not suggest that there is no risk of injury or death during the holidays. Accidents still happen during this time of year, so drivers should always be cautious.
However, there does not appear to be a need for drivers to be especially fearful of accidents happening with significantly greater frequency than at other times during the year.
As is true during other seasons, if you are involved in a wreck that is caused by a careless driver, a skilled Missouri auto accident attorney can help you seek compensation.