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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), dangerous crashes predominantly occur on weekends. Still, some of the most dangerous drinking holidays across the United States include Thanksgiving Day and Memorial Day. They account for about 33% of alcohol-related fatalities, compared to 25% on other days.

Holiday Accidents: Where, When, and Who

In 2018, 29% of all traffic fatalities involved a drunk driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher across the United States. While on Thanksgiving Day, one of the most dangerous drinking holidays, about 35% of all crashes included a drunk driver between 2011 and 2015. A survey using NHTSA data reveals the following motor vehicle deaths:

Independence Day – 397

Memorial Day – 389

Thanksgiving – 439

Labor Day – 379

Christmas – 318

New Year’s Day – 279

Why Do Crashes Spike During the Holidays?

As the holidays approach, there is a celebratory spirit in the air as people run errands and shop for gifts. There are more cars on the road, and the increased traffic can lead to more accidents. The weather also contributes to accidents during the winter holidays, especially when it is snowy, foggy, or rainy.

Unfortunately, many drivers also engage in holiday drinking at this time. This can result in more crashes and alcohol-fueled fatalities on the road.

Most Dangerous Cities and States Across the United States Over the Holidays

Listed below are states and cities where most fatal crashes occur annually:


  • Texas – 3642
  • California – 3563
  • Florida – 3133
  • Georgia – 1504
  • North Carolina – 1437
  • Pennsylvania – 1190
  • Ohio – 1068
  • Tennessee – 1041
  • South Carolina – 1037
  • Illinois – 1031


  • Los Angeles – 628
  • Phoenix – 466
  • Houston – 366
  • Chicago – 245
  • Las Vegas – 206
  • Detroit – 153
  • Kansas City – 133
  • Jacksonville – 131
  • Atlanta – 119
  • Charlotte – 106

How to Make the Roads Safer During Holidays Known for Holiday Drinking

Making roads safer requires taking precautionary measures like:

  • Engaging in responsible holiday drinking and using a designated driver
  • Relying on an alternative form of transportation in bad weather (i.e. taking a taxi or bus).
  • Avoiding alcoholic drinks if a designated driver can’t be found
  • Taking breaks along the way to reduce stress and fatigue
  • Carrying enough snacks on the road trip to suppress the urge to buy alcohol
  • Getting enough rest before a road trip
  • Ensuring that the car is in good condition before embarking on a road trip
  • Traveling during off-peak times
  • Starting early to avoid the holiday rush

Safety During Drinking Holidays

Traveling by car is the most popular, convenient, and affordable mode of transportation for many Americans. Thus, a surge in traffic is inevitable during the holidays. The increased impaired driving-related crashes during the holidays are more than likely due to more people being on the road and people attending holiday events or parties where alcohol is being served.

However, remember that no amount of alcohol is safe when it comes to drinking and driving.

At RoadGuard Interlock, we are committed to making the roads safer by providing reliable ignition interlock devices. For more safe driving and responsible drinking tips, click here to access our blog.

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