New study reveals Thanksgiving as Illinois’ deadliest holiday for drivers
A new study has revealed which US holidays are the most dangerous for drivers in Illinois, based on reported road fatalities – and it turns out Thanksgiving is the deadliest.
The research, compiled by Ohio personal injury lawyer John Fitch, analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on fatal motor vehicle crashes reported on major US holidays to identify which are the most dangerous for drivers.
Drivers may want to think twice before taking to the road on Thanksgiving, as the holiday sees the highest increase in road fatalities compared to any other event.
The Prairie State sees an average of 11.2 fatal crashes on the national holiday each year – which is nearly three times the daily average for November (3.2).
This is a substantially higher rise than seen across US holidays in Illinois generally, as the typical increase is 77% between the day of the event and an average day in the same month.
While it’s not clear what the exact reason for this increase is, it could be that ‘Blackout Wednesday’ – otherwise known as Drinksgiving, plays a role in increasing the danger for drivers.
And even for those who aren’t partaking in the alcohol-heavy event, they could still be affected by the after-effects of celebrating with their family, such as feeling tired, sluggish, or run down.
With findings from the National Safety Council revealing that driving without sleep for a consecutive 20 hours is just as dangerous as driving with a blood concentration of 0.08% (the US legal limit), it makes sense that celebratory holiday days pose a higher risk on the road.
Following behind Thanksgiving as the second-deadliest holidays for drivers are Labor Day and Christmas Day, which both see on-the-day fatalities up by 188% compared to the rest of September and December – which is 28% lower than Thanksgiving’s rise.
- New data has revealed that Thanksgiving is Illinois’ deadliest holiday for drivers, as it sees the biggest uptick in on-the-day traffic fatalities
- According to data from the NHTSA, fatal vehicle crashes are 248% higher on Thanksgiving than they are throughout the rest of November
- While Thanksgiving is the most dangerous for drivers, Halloween is one of the safest, which is good news for those commuting for the event this year
- A spokesperson and law expert at John Fitch encourages drivers to always prioritize road safety – even if they’re rushing home for the holidays
Fatalities reported on major holidays, compared to monthly averages
|Holiday||% On-the-Day Change|
|New Year’s Day||27|
|Fourth of July||2|
|New Year’s Eve||-30|
On the other end of the scale, the holidays that proved the least hazardous for drivers are Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
In fact, drivers may want to travel on these days compared to any other time in October and December, as both see a decrease in fatal crashes on the day versus throughout the month.
The average daily fatalities drop by 19% on Halloween compared to in the run-up to the spookiest day of the year – perhaps as a result of people walking while trick or treating.
New Year’s Eve brings an even more significant decrease of 30%, likely as everyone is busy attending parties.
This is in sharp contrast to New Year’s Day which sees a rise in on-the-day fatalities, increasing by 27%, suggesting the aftermath of New Year’s Eve celebrations are more dangerous than celebrating the event itself.
Commenting on the findings, a John Fitch spokesperson says: “It’s a well-known fact people travel to spend time with their friends and family on holidays, so naturally, there’s going to be more traffic on the roads in the run up to a major event.
“With increased traffic comes increased risk – particularly for celebrations that can run quite late, like on New Year’s Day, as people are likely to be tired from the night before and therefore may struggle to concentrate as well as they would do normally.
“If you plan to travel, you need to be conscious of your condition and consider your safety on the road. Ask yourself, are you okay to be driving? Have you slept enough? Will the alcohol be out of your system? Only when the answer is yes to all of those is it safe to drive.”
Source: Data gathered from [https://cdan.dot.gov/query] over a 15-year time span and [https://www.nhtsa.gov/file-downloads?p=nhtsa/downloads/FARS/2017/National/]
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