Drivers in New York who plan to take road trips during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period may be wise to appoint a designated driver if they may be tempted to consume alcohol. Independence Day is the deadliest federal holiday of the year for drunk driving accidents, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 28 that law enforcement will be stepping up patrols and conducting sobriety checks across the Empire State to reduce the annual DWI death toll.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that drunk driving accidents that took place on July Fourth claimed 1,192 lives between 2010 and 2017. In 2018, the New York State Police arrested 216 motorists for violating the state’s DWI laws over the July Fourth weekend and investigated 165 accidents involving an impaired driver. Those accidents left four road users dead and a further 244 injured.
Drunk driving fatalities are higher in the summer months because there are more cars on the road, but Independence Day is especially deadly. The chances of being killed by a drunk driver on July Fourth is 57% higher than it is during other days in the summer, and when the holiday falls on a weekday, the death toll is the highest. Between 2012 and 2017, drunk driving fatalities on Independence Day averaged 43.4 per day when the holiday was celebrated during the workweek. That figure fell to 36.3 drunk driving deaths per day when the nation celebrated its birthday on a Saturday or Sunday.
In addition to facing fines, jail time and a loss of their driving privileges, drunk drivers may be held financially responsible for their reckless behavior in civil court. When representing clients who suffered injury, loss or damage in car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers, experienced personal injury attorneys may use police reports and the results of toxicology tests to establish negligence.
Source: Office of the Governor of the State of New York, Troopers to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints Statewide and Target Reckless and Distracted Drivers, Press release, June 28, 2019