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Maricopa County, AZ Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics
Holidays can bring out the best and worst in people. Unfortunately, while spending time with friends and family, some drivers forget to make a safe choice. That is why drunk driving accidents are a serious risk during the holidays.
Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Every jurisdiction except Utah sets the legal limit at a blood alcohol concentration of .08. You are more likely to contribute to a crash with that much alcohol in your body.
At the legal limit, the typical effects of alcohol include:
- Poor muscle coordination, which impacts your balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing;
- Making it harder to detect danger; and
- Impairing your judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory.
When you are driving, alcohol makes it harder to concentrate, pay attention to your speed, perceive what is going on around you, and process visual information. As a result, you are slower and less coordinated, making it difficult to avoid a possible accident.
U.S. Drunk Driving Accidents Increased in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic did not reduce traffic accidents or alcohol-related crashes like you might have thought. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary figures for 2020 in June 2021. Despite Americans driving less, we experienced the largest number of fatalities since 2007.
Alcohol was a factor in these accidents. Estimated deaths in police-reported alcohol-involved crashes were up 9% between 2019 and 2020.
Other factors were speeding and failure to wear a seat belt. Speed-related crashes rose 11%, and the number of unrestrained occupants in passenger vehicles went up 15% compared to 2019.
Drunk Driving in Arizona in 2020
The Arizona Department of Transportation reported 4,506 alcohol-related crashes in 2020, which amounted to 4.56% of all crashes. There were 163 fatal alcohol-related crashes that killed 181 individuals and another 1,874 injury crashes that hurt 2,863 people.
Maricopa County Saw the Most Alcohol-Related Crashes
When drunk driving accidents are broken down by county, Maricopa County has the vast majority of wrecks. The county had 2,834 alcohol-related crashes in 2020, leading to 1,730 injured people and 81 deaths.
The emotional and financial costs of drunk driving are devastating. The economic loss due to the fatalities is estimated to be $1,722,282,151.00, while the economic loss due to suspected serious injuries is $276,900,977.00.
Communities with the Most Drunk Driving Accidents
The Maricopa County communities with the most alcohol-related crashes in 2020 were:
Phoenix, with a population of 1.62 million, suffered 1,189 alcohol-related crashes. There were 688 injuries and 33 deaths.
Mesa, a city of over half a million people, had 241 alcohol-related accidents, resulting in 172 injuries and 7 deaths.
Tempe, a smaller city with over 200,000 people, had 216 alcohol-related crashes, causing 140 injuries and 7 fatalities.
Glendale – Second Deadliest Community
Glendale had the fifth-highest number of alcohol-related crashes but the second most alcohol-related fatalities. Thirteen individuals lost their lives to drunk driving in 2020.
Drunk Driving Around the Holidays
Impaired driving becomes a particular problem around holiday weekends. Many people who are responsible most of the year seem to forget their responsibilities when they have BBQs and parties to attend.
AutoInsurance.org studied fatal accidents during 18 holidays between 2017 and 2019. It found the deadliest holidays were:
- Memorial Day,
- Labor Day,
- Independence Day (Fourth of July),
- Father’s Day,
- Cinco de Mayo,
- Columbus Day,
- Mother’s Day,
- Thanksgiving, and
- Veterans Day.
Part of what makes holiday weekends deadly is alcohol, as most social hosts serve drinks. Another factor is simply the volume of cars. More people on the roads and more drivers who have been drinking is a recipe for disaster.
Holiday Drunk Driving in Maricopa County
Maricopa County witnessed several deadly holidays in 2020.
Holidays with the most fatal crashes were:
- Thanksgiving—12 fatal crashes and 4 alcohol-related fatal crashes;
- Memorial Day—11 fatal crashes and 4 alcohol-related fatal crashes;
- Labor Day—10 fatal crashes and 2 alcohol-related fatal crashes; and
- Christmas—10 fatal crashes and 1 alcohol-related fatal crash.
The worst holiday in 2020 was Christmas, with 10 drunk driving accidents causing 14 deaths, three of which were alcohol-related.
Call Us About Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit
If a drunk driver hurt you or caused your relative’s death, you may have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers to learn about your options. You can reach us online or call 480-900-7390.