Most people don’t think twice about getting in the driver’s seat. In 2017 more than 37,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. – more than 100 deaths each day. While various reasons contribute to the death toll, driving under the influence of alcohol was blamed in one death every 48 minutes in 2017.
With the July 4th holiday having passed and Labor Day on the horizon, with deadly summer driving days in between, there is new information available. Niznik Behavioral Health analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration from 2013 to 2017 for insight on holiday-related fatalities in America. Using the FARS “Holiday-related” variable, NBH was able to understand the effects that a holiday has on traffic fatalities for the week.
Nationwide, summer holidays are the deadliest — Fourth of July has the largest percent of monthly fatalities (15%) but Memorial Day and Labor Day are tied for second (13%).
Unfortunately, South Carolina stood out when the numbers were analyzed.
- South Carolina ranks second for the deadliest state for drinking and driving during holidays, behind only Missouri.
- July 4th, in particular, is the most dangerous holiday for drinking and driving in South Carolina.
Whether impaired driving was to blame or not, the 2019 July 4th holiday period from Wednesday, July 3, at 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 7, was deadly on South Carolina roads. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported 10 people were killed on roadways during the 102 hours. Four of the deaths occurred during the weekend period from Friday through Sunday.
In 2018, there were three deaths during the 30-hour July 4th travel period, which occurred from July 3 at 6 p.m. through July 4 at 11:59 p.m. In 2017, during the last 102-hour travel period, there were 14 deaths.
It’s hard to find good news in the overall decline of four deaths from 2018 since 10 people dying is 10 to many – and a terrible tragedy for so many people.
As of July 7, 472 people had died on South Carolina highways, compared to 520 highway deaths during the same time period in 2018. Again, it’s hard to call that good news amid the deadliest days and with the end-of-year holiday period also yet to come.
It’s time South Carolinians “think twice” before getting behind the wheel – and certainly not getting on the road when impaired. There are enough risks already.