According to a recent article in BACtrack.com, summer is the deadliest season for auto accidents. How can this be? After all, as the article points out, “the summer season usually offers the best weather and driving conditions of the year—dry roads, excellent visibility, and longer daylight hours.” However, while most of us tend to associate inclement weather with a higher risk of traffic collisions, it turns out that other factors may cause more accidents than wintry climates. Most notably, the “higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during the summer months than during the rest of the year combined.”
An increase of vacation drivers on the roads usually includes teens with freshly minted driver’s licenses. The rise in young people behind the wheel when school is out is one of the primary reasons that the total number of fatal car crashes rises in the summertime. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are often described as “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers.
Why are teens more likely to be in an accident than older drivers? On a basic level, teens tend to have a lot of free time in the summer, and this can result in road trips and other activities involving a car. Because drivers aged nineteen and younger have significantly less experience behind the wheel than older drivers, their inexperience can make it difficult to react properly when facing a highway danger. Additionally, teens are more likely to engage in distracted driving behavior like texting, using a cell phone and the like.
Studies show that more teens are illegally using alcohol than they were in previous years, and more of those adolescents are getting behind the wheel after they have consumed alcohol. When you add inexperience and driving distractions into the mix, it is easy to understand how accidents happen. But teens are not the only ones to blame for alcohol-related crashes in the summer. More DUIs are reported in months during which families and friends come together and enjoy outdoor parties and barbeques. Many adults consume alcohol at these events and too many of them decide to drive home afterward.
Impaired Driving and Alcohol-Related Accidents
Given that both teens and adults cause serious summer car collisions when they make the decision to drive while impaired, it is important to understand just how widespread this problem is and how we can prevent these accidents from taking place. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 30 people sustain fatal injuries everyday because of an alcohol-impaired driver. Here are some significant facts about accidents caused by impaired driving:
- More than 10,000 people die each year in crashes caused by alcohol-impaired drivers. Those deaths account for about one-third of all traffic fatalities reported each year in the U.S.
- Law enforcement officials arrested more than 1.28 million drivers in 2012 for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Annually, millions more self-report incidents of driving under the influence.
- About 20 percent of all traffic fatalities affecting children between the ages of 0-14 years old involved an impaired driver.
The CDC identifies the following as risk factors for impaired driving:
- Age: young people are more likely than older people to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they are also more likely to be involved in a deadly accident “at all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).”
- Previous DUI or DWI convictions: if a driver has previously been convicted of driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol, he or she is six times more likely to be in a fatal accident caused by impaired driving.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious or fatal injuries in an auto collision, contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your case.