Holiday Drinking Leads To Rise In DWI Accidents

Dec 01

Alcohol study by Aviva West

Holiday drinking can be deadly while driving

The holidays are a time to relax and spend time with family and friends. That often leads to holiday drinking, as the holidays are one of the busiest times of year for alcohol sales. The increase holiday drinking then often leads to more alcohol-related accidents, as not everyone is smart when it comes to getting behind the wheel after drinking.

The holidays of Christmas and New Year’s are considered to be some of the most dangerous times of year to be on the road, as this article states:

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2001 and 2005, 36 fatalities occurred per day on average in the United States as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. At certain times of the year, such as summers and holidays, those numbers rose dramatically. During the Christmas period, for example, an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred each day, and soared to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday.

This is solely because of the increase in holiday drinking. Every year many alcohol distributors report their best business during the holidays. The following article from BusinessWeek shows how much of a factor holiday :

As Frank Coleman, senior vice-president for public affairs and communications for the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) observes, “It’s absolutely a huge chunk of the year’s revenue.” And the numbers bear him out: According to the Adams Liquor Handbook, a compendium of industry statistics, sales of spirits from January through November average 7.9% of the yearly total, but come December that figure jumps to 12.7%.

This shows up at retail, too. Sam’s Wines & Liquors in Chicago does over 40% of its yearly spirit sales from Thanksgiving to the end of the year, according to President and Chief Executive Brian Rosen.

With those numbers it is no wonder that holiday drinking leads to more DWI-related accidents. Even if a driver chooses not to drink and drive they can still become a victim because not everyone else makes the choice to not get behind the wheel. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, over 50% of convicted drunk drivers still drive on a suspended license, so these are the people that are a danger on the roads even for law-abiding drivers.

That doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy holiday drinking while you are with your family and friends. As always, moderation and responsibility are the keys. If you do decide to participate in holiday drinking it is important to either stay home while doing so (even if it does mean spending more time with your relatives) or make sure you have a designated driver.

It is also important to spot the signs of drunk drivers to avoid them on the roadways. If you see someone weaving between lanes, driving without their lights on, or driving with the windows down in cold weather those are often signs of a drunk driver. If you see these, stay away.

It only takes a little time and forethought to make sure holiday drinking does not turn tragic. Remember these tips when you’re with family and friends these holidays.


Travis Miller

Travis has been blogging professionally since 2006 and has been working as a traffic safety advocate since 2012.

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