This Holiday Has the 2nd Highest Number of Fatal Drunk Driving Crashes Staff
by Staff

As Thanksgiving approaches, families across the United States are preparing to get together. However, a recent study conducted by Nextbase has unveiled a sobering statistic - Thanksgiving ranks second on the list of holidays with the most fatal drunk driving crashes, shedding light on a concerning trend during this otherwise festive season.

Nextbase's research, which analyzed fatal crash data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for all major US holidays from 2011 to 2021, provides a stark reminder of the dangers associated with Thanksgiving travel. The study not only quantified the number of crashes occurring on each holiday but also highlighted the significant prevalence of alcohol-related accidents.

Thanksgiving Can be Deadly

Key Findings:

  • Thanksgiving witnesses an average of 92 fatal crashes across the entire United States annually.
  • From 2011 to 2021, there were a staggering 1,021 fatal crashes recorded on Thanksgiving.
  • In 2012, all 84 fatal Thanksgiving day crashes were attributed to drunk driving.
  • Alcohol-induced accidents constitute 32% of all fatal crashes on US public holidays.
  • The year 2019 recorded the highest number of Thanksgiving day fatal crashes, with 109 incidents.
  • Among major holidays, Thanksgiving ranks as the fifth most dangerous for driving overall.
  • Thanksgiving holds the unenviable position of second-highest in terms of drunk driving-related fatal crashes, trailing only behind Independence Day.

Here is a ranking of holidays by the number of fatal drunk driving crashes:

  • Independence Day: 517 fatal crashes
  • Thanksgiving: 404 fatal crashes
  • Easter: 353 fatal crashes
  • Labor Day: 351 fatal crashes
  • Halloween: 286 fatal crashes
  • Christmas Day: 269 fatal crashes
  • New Year's Eve: 261 fatal crashes
  • Valentine's Day: 243 fatal crashes

A Concerning Trend

Upon a closer examination of the data, Nextbase found that Thanksgiving accounted for a concerning 3.26% of all fatal crashes in November between 2011 and 2021. Of the 1021 Thanksgiving day fatal crashes during this period, a staggering 404 were linked to alcohol impairment, cementing Thanksgiving as a holiday fraught with driving risks.

Moreover, on average, 32% of fatal crashes occurring on US public holidays can be attributed to alcohol.

Thanksgiving also shares the highest percentage (39%) of fatal crashes caused by drunk driving with Independence Day. A notable pattern emerges as the majority of these crashes take place in low-lit or dark conditions, indicating that many motorists are taking the wheel after consuming alcohol.

Be Careful Around the Holidays

Here is a breakdown of the worst US holidays for fatal car crashes:

  • Independence Day: 1319 fatal crashes, 39% caused by drunk driving
  • Halloween: 1138 fatal crashes, 25% caused by drunk driving
  • Labor Day: 1115 fatal crashes, 31% caused by drunk driving
  • Easter: 1028 fatal crashes, 34% caused by drunk driving
  • Thanksgiving: 1021 fatal crashes, 39% caused by drunk driving
  • New Year's Eve: 974 fatal crashes, 26% caused by drunk driving
  • Valentine's Day: 912 fatal crashes, 26% caused by drunk driving
  • Christmas Day: 805 fatal crashes, 33% caused by drunk driving

Independence Day emerges as the holiday with the highest number of fatal crashes and the greatest proportion of drunk driving-related accidents. Halloween ranks second in terms of crash numbers, with a significant portion attributable to drunk driving. In contrast, Christmas Day records the lowest number of fatal crashes, yet a substantial 33% of them occur due to a driver impaired by alcohol.

The findings of this research by Nextbase underscore the importance of heightened awareness and caution during Thanksgiving, as well as the need for effective strategies to combat drunk driving on all major holidays. It serves as a crucial reminder that responsible drinking and designated drivers play a pivotal role in ensuring everyone's safety on the roads.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

This article was co-written using AI and was then heavily edited and optimized by our editorial team. Staff Staff

More by Staff

Join the conversation