Between 2010 and 2017, a total of 1,192 people died in drunk driving crashes on the Fourth of July. This is according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. This makes Independence Day the deadliest of the major U.S. holidays for DUI fatalities. New Jersey residents should know that Memorial Day came in second with 1,105 deaths during that same eight-year span.
The DUI fatality rate comes to 42.4 per day for Independence Day. For a comparable summer day, the fatality rate is closer to 26.1. During the Fourth of July weekend in 2017, there were 184 drunk driving crash deaths. Taking an equivalent period of four to five days in summer, the average number of fatalities came to 117.
The Fourth of July is also deadlier when it falls on a weekday. When on a Wednesday, the average DUI fatality rate is 52. This is 43% higher than the rate for Saturday, which sees an average of 36.3 fatalities. These averages are based on NHTSA data spanning the years 2012 to 2017.
The consequences of drunk driving are serious. First-time offenders can face a 90-day suspension of their license and fines ranging from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They may spend up to one year in jail.
In addition, a DUI offender’s auto insurance company may need to pay out compensatory damages to those who were injured through no fault of their own. Victims, for their part, may want to see an attorney who focuses on motor vehicle accidents. An attorney may speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom if a settlement is not successfully negotiated. In the end, a plaintiff may be covered for their medical bills, vehicle damage and lost wages.