Of all major holidays, July Fourth sees most DUI fatalities

Independence Day appears to be the most dangerous of the major holidays in the US when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. West Virginia residents should know that the DUI fatality rate for this holiday is 42.4, which equates to an average of 42.4 deaths per day. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that there were 1,192 DUI fatalities reported on this holiday from 2010 to 2017.

The Fourth of July weekend is more dangerous than any equivalent span of four to five summer days. For example, 2017 saw 184 DUI fatalities on the Fourth of July weekend compared to the average of 117 fatalities seen during that equivalent period.

The DUI fatality rate is an average of 52 deaths when the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday. In general, the holiday is deadlier when it falls on a weekday with the fatality rate hovering at 43.4. Saturday is relatively the safest with a fatality rate of 36.3.

The second most dangerous holiday for drunk driving deaths, according to NHTSA data, is Memorial Day. Between 2010 and 2017, there were 1,105 such deaths on this holiday. Thanksgiving and Christmas were the least deadly with the fatality rate coming in at 27.9 and 27.7 respectively. Still, drivers want to be careful any time they head out for the holidays.

Drunk driving is negligent driving, and drunk drivers may face not only criminal charges, but also a personal injury claim. Victims, for their part, may be able to seek compensatory in addition to punitive damages. Before anything, though, they may want a case assessment from a lawyer. An attorney will see if the case is valid under West Virginia's comparative fault rule. The lawyer may then prepare for settlement negotiations and, if this fails, a courtroom trial.

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