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Long weekends and travelers increase risks of drunk driving crash

With the coming of warmer weather and long weekends, thoughts often turn to road trips. Along with increased daylight hours, the spring and summer months also contain holidays that lead to celebrations and increased numbers of travelers. Recently, Texas was listed as one of the top states for recording traffic deaths over long weekends with more than half of these wrecks involving drunk driving.

The unofficial start of summer and vacation-related travel often begins with Memorial Day weekend. While this is often the time to get together with friends and family, it is also the third deadliest holiday in terms of motor vehicle accidents. Over the course of a five-year study involving 42 states, the average number of deaths is estimated to be around 309. Though this number is tragically high, the 4th of July is listed as the most dangerous travel time with more than 336 fatal crashes on average. The second most deadly weekend travel time is Thanksgiving.

According to statistics, nearly one-third of fatal crashes are caused by drunk driving. It appears that the time of day is also a contributing factor in many accidents. A crash is less likely to occur in the morning hours while late evening and overnight are the most dangerous. In crashes that were related to impaired drivers, over 68 percent of fatal wrecks occur between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Other dangers related to traveling are distracted drivers, driving while fatigued and speeding. While one can take precautions to avoid hazards on the road, in reality, many accidents happen without warning. Texas travelers who have suffered a serious injury -- or lost a loved one -- caused by drunk driving or other negligent behaviors often face a long and difficult recovery -- physically, emotionally and financially. A successfully navigated personal injury or wrongful death civil suit may allow victims to at least recoup their documented monetary damages.

Source: cincinnati.com, "Be alert: Memorial Day Weekend driving is dangerous", Jennie Key, May 24, 2018

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