Drunk drivers: making holidays less happy

Residents in St. Louis, Missouri, should understand how the risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident increases over the holidays.

People who live in St. Louis, Missouri, know that drunk drivers can be on the roads at any time. They pose serious risks to other drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians alike. A look at data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes it easy to see how extensive the impact of drunk drivers is in Missouri.

In 2013, there were 248 drunk driving deaths in Missouri. The prior year that number was 283. In 2011 and 2010, there were 258 and 257 such deaths, respectively. A total of 302 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2009.

The greater St. Louis area accounted for many of those deaths. Between 2009 and 2013, following are the number of people who died in drunk driving accidents in St. Louis City and St. Louis County:

  • In 2009, there were 14 and 20 drunk driving fatalities in the city and county, respectively.
  • In 2010, there were 12 and 16 drunk driving fatalities in the city and county, respectively.
  • In 2011, there were 17 and 20 drunk driving fatalities in the city and county, respectively.
  • In 2012, there were 10 and 18 drunk driving fatalities in the city and county, respectively.
  • In 2013, there were 18 and 16 drunk driving fatalities in the city and county, respectively.

Over these five years, St. Louis City and St. Louis County experienced the loss of 161 lives at the hands of drunk drivers.

How holidays impact drunk driving

BACtrack.com explains that there are a greater number of people arrested for impaired driving between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day than at other times of the year. The National Safety Council adds that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year are three of the nation's most dangerous holidays for fatal drunk driving accidents.

USA Today notes that holiday dates that include a full weekend can be even more deadly than holidays that fall in the early or middle part of the week. Christmas 2015 is a Friday. New Year's Eve will be a Thursday night with the following Friday a holiday so a weekend will be covered by both holidays this year. As always, Thanksgiving includes a full long weekend.

A closer look at the numbers

In a five-year comparison of NHTSA data, a spike in the number of deaths attributed to drunk drivers is seen over key holiday dates. The study compared dates attributed to Christmas, New Year's and then December dates not associated with these holidays. There 45 daily drunk driving deaths on the days associated with Christmas and 54 on the days associated with New Year's. For the other days, the number of people who died in drunk driving crashes each day was 28.

How can victims get help?

When drunk drivers cause accidents and harm to others, those injured or their loved ones deserve compensation. A call to an experienced attorney is recommended for help to obtain this.