A recent study into car accident data indicates that fatal car crashes peak during Thanksgiving week. Researchers say that weather, drunk driving, and increased numbers of people on the road all contribute to a higher rate of fatal crashes during turkey week. Researchers from the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety define Thanksgiving week as the Monday before the holiday and the Sunday after it.
“With substantially increased traffic volume over a short period, this combination is a recipe for potential disaster,” one researcher said.
Over the last six years, about 748 people died every week in car accidents across the country. Thanksgiving week averaged 50 more fatalities on average. Other holidays that saw a spike in fatal crashes include Veterans’ Day, New Years’ Day, and Memorial Day.
The California Highway Patrol plans on bolstering its DUI and seatbelt enforcement during the Thanksgiving Holiday. According to CHP statistics, approximately two-thirds of the 32 people who died during Thanksgiving week last year were not wearing seat belts.
“Motorists are less likely to encounter one of our officers by simply wearing their seat belt,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Not only does the law require everyone inside the vehicle to be properly secured, seat belts are your best line of defense in a collision. By not wearing your seat belt, the risk of death or injury in a collision substantially increases.”
Source: Claims Journal, “Thanksgiving Driving Patterns Increase Risk for Fatal Crashes,” Nov. 20, 2012