What Road Hazards Should Drivers Beware Of On Memorial Day Weekend?
Each year, thousands of Americans pack up their cars in preparation for the first three-day holiday weekend of the summer: Memorial Day. Many will take road trips to visit family or camp at the beach or a state park. Some will forget to buckle up and others will take the wheel after drinking-decisions that make Memorial Day weekend one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. In California alone, 45 people were killed and many more suffered personal injury from Friday, May 29th to Monday, June 1st in 2009, according to a lawyer in the state Belt and Road. What road risks should drivers beware of throughout this long weekend?
Drinking and driving is most prevalent during the holidays, making them some of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. Although it is against the law in all states and the District of Columbia to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of.08 or higher, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, recorded 10,839 alcohol-related fatalities in 2009, 753 of which were suffered in December. Memorial Day weekend, however, was the most deadly holiday that year, with traffic crashes resulting in the deaths of 473 people. Alcohol was a factor in 42 percent of them. Compare this to Christmas, when there were 262 deaths, 37 percent of which were alcohol related.
Memorial Day weekend is an extremely busy time for California Highway Patrol officers, and drinking and driving is one of the traffic safety issues they encounter most frequently. One year, in the midst of dozens of DUI arrests in Ventura County, a woman who was three months pregnant crashed her car into a tree. Authorities determined that not only was she under the influence of alcohol, she wasn’t wearing her seat belt.
Nationally, failing to wear a seat belt while drinking and driving occurs quite frequently, and Memorial Day weekend is no exception to this trend. In 2009, of the 5,851 drivers killed in crashes that had a BAC of.08 or higher, 72 percent were not wearing seat belts, according to NHTSA. That same year, nearly half of the vehicle occupants killed over the holiday weekend were unrestrained at the time of the accident.
As with any other day of the year, the consequences of drinking and driving and not wearing a seat belt far outweigh any possible advantage. The risk of arrest, or, worse, suffering a personal injury or death, is too great. During this holiday weekend, every available California Highway Patrol officer will be patrolling the roads for intoxicated drivers, according to a local lawyer. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver or utilize one of the many free taxi or tow truck services offered on holidays. In the event that you decide to drive, wear a seat belt and make sure everyone is the vehicle does as well.