Memorial Day: A deadly driving holiday

With a long weekend upon us, it's best to keep off the roads as much as possible. If you're driving, though, be aware of what other motorists are up to.

By MSN Money Partner May 21, 2012 1:40PM

This post comes from partner site on MSN MoneyThe holidays are a dangerous time to be on the road, and the Memorial Day weekend proves to be one of the deadliest. Every year, hundreds of Americans die as a result of alcohol-related car crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been tracking car-crash statistics for a quarter of a century. In 2010 (the most recent data available), 397 people died in crashes over the Memorial Day weekend.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious risk. Aside from being irresponsible on the road, impaired driving carries serious insurance consequences. If your insurer discovers you’ve been convicted of a DUI, your car insurance rates will likely increase or your policy may be canceled or not renewed.
When people think of a deadly holiday, they generally associate it with New Year's Day. While that weekend is deadly, other holidays are just as dangerous. The statistics vary annually based on which day of the week the holiday falls. For example, some holidays have a four-day weekend, while others take place during only three days -- and some holidays vary in length from year to year. 

Holiday car crashes in 2010




Memorial Day (three-day period)

397 deaths (40% alcohol-related)

Fourth of July (three-day period)

392 deaths (39% alcohol-related)

Labor Day (three-day period)

403 deaths (36% alcohol-related)

New Year’s Day (three-day period)

297 deaths (48% alcohol-related)

Thanksgiving (three-day period)

431 deaths (40% alcohol-related)

Christmas (three-day period)

259 deaths (37% alcohol-related)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Drunk driving is a major threat to public safety, and many states continue to work to get intoxicated drivers off the highways. NHTSA reports that in 2010 more than 10,000 people in the United States died in alcohol-impaired car crashes, or one every 51 minutes.
In addition, NHTSA research has consistently shown that more people are killed in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver on the weekends and at night. But no matter what day it is, most crash fatalities occur on two-lane roads. Also, more people die while driving in the rain compared with snow or sleet.


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May 23, 2012 12:30PM
Smoked baby back ribs, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, rolls, and strawberry shortcake at my house this weekend. Y'all come on over...but you drink, you hand over the keys and stay!

Have a great, and safe holiday weekend.
May 23, 2012 11:20AM
I never drive on holiday''s just safer from all the buttheads that don't care if they kill themselves or me.
May 23, 2012 12:33PM
Rather it be a holiday weekend or not they are still out there. Also not to say about the cell phone users. texting, playing on the laptop, reading,the list goes on. Be smart put all the stuff away and dont get high and just drive. Keep  the rest of us safe.
May 23, 2012 11:55AM
If 40% of accidents are alcohol-related, that means that 60% are caused by sober drivers.  Does that mean you are safer drinking and driving than sober driving?

No - Seriously - Don't drink and drive.
May 23, 2012 11:37AM
I HAVE to travel this weekend (with my children), thanks for scaring the crap out of me though ;)
May 23, 2012 11:36AM
Good title for the stupid people who speed and drive drunk.  Even that title will not stop the stupid.
May 23, 2012 12:00PM
Stay home on amature night.  Amature drinkers go amature driving and kill.  Stay home on all amature nights, have a party in your house and live to tell about it the next day.
May 23, 2012 2:17PM

Be safe on the roads this weekend folks.


If you're gonna drink and drive, drink Pepsi.

May 23, 2012 11:48AM

You never catch me on the road for any holiday....thank GOD.    I live near a route that travels to the shore....and for the life of me....can't understand what's so exciting about getting to the shore....but before that sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for hour and a half.       

Why people..WHY?????

May 23, 2012 11:30AM
Dear MSN article writer,

Thank you for reminding us to die this weekend.  Couldn't you have chosen a better choice of words for the title?   Very stupidly worded title.
May 23, 2012 2:08PM
I constantly read posts on Facebook about where the Police checkpoints will be, and how they're wrong, and how it's entrapment. It's sickening. PEople will actually DEFEND driving drunk!!
Some human beings are officially devolving, science should get on top of this phenomena now.

May 23, 2012 11:54AM
Need to implement better in-car technologies to keep impaired drivers off the road.  If we can build all kinds of accelerometers inside of iPads and iPhones and put gyros etc. in airplanes, surely we could make a car that can detect driving patterns consistent with drunk driving and either report itself (alarm blatantly flashing headlights and horn), pull to the side of road and disable itself, or dial itself in to law enforcement.  Up-front sobriety test built into steering wheel or dash might help too.
May 23, 2012 12:25PM
They have been yelling about getting older people to not drive because we are too dangerous to be out on roads.Which causes most fatal accidents dui and drug drivers or older drivers?
May 23, 2012 2:06PM
There is no such thing as a "deadly driving weekend".  However, there are stupid, drunk, crazy people who drive on weekends and kill other people and themselves.  You can only look in the mirror and see the potential problem.  You can't blame it on a "weekend".
May 23, 2012 12:47PM

People drive stupid on our highways and byways everyday; however, I rarely go out of town on major summer holiday weekends when the ultra stupid are out.



Pawprints2011--send GPS coordinates, I'll chance it for baby back ribs. I wonder how much money I've saved since quit drinking in '86?




May 23, 2012 2:58PM
I guess memorial day is named correctly since more idiot get killed in car car crashes because they drink and drive. How stupid can they be. Drinking a driving and taking the chance that they will be killed on a day of remeberance and celebration for the already dead! People make no sense to me at all. I find it very difficult to understand their way of thinking and rationalzation when it comes to drinking and driving.
May 23, 2012 12:14PM
Anyone that drives this weekend is nuts.
May 23, 2012 11:55AM
If we drop all the speed limits from 55mph & up by 10mph and enforce the law, the insurance companies said they'll reduce our insurance 50%!! Believe this $hit & I'll tell you some more!!!
May 23, 2012 11:34AM
Now, grab your cooler of beer,...and jump on the gas... go and have some fun. 
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