[Study] Memorial Day Weekend Fatal Crashes from 2012-2017

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest holiday periods on U.S. roadways.

From 2012-2017, there were 2,506 fatal crashes during the holiday weekend, killing 2,776 people.

This represents an 18.6 percent increase in fatal crashes over a typical four-day period during those years.

At Flanagan P.A., our Miami car accident attorneys worked with data visualization firm 1Point21 Interactive to analyze nearly 200,000 fatal crash records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

We isolated all crashes that occurred on Memorial Day weekend during those six years, a period we defined as the four days from Friday through Monday (Memorial Day).

When looking at the data on a year-to-year basis, 2016 was the deadliest year during the study period – with 468 fatal crashes and 523 fatalities – followed closely by 2015 and 2017.

YearFatal CrashesFatalities

Fatal Crashes on Memorial Day by State

At the state level, Texas led the way by a significant margin in fatal crashes with 269 during the six-year holiday period – 54 more crashes than the next closest state, California.

This table shows the total number of fatal crashes and fatalities in each state, as well as the number of drunk drivers involved.  The ‘Vs. The typical 4 Day Period’ column shows the amount of increase or decrease in fatal crashes during Memorial Day Weekend in relation to the average four-day totals for that state.

StateFatal CrashesFatalitiesDrunk Driversvs Typical 4 Day Period
North Carolina9810345+10%
New York788114+8%
South Carolina738031+22%
New Jersey414814+8%
West Virginia333419+69%
New Mexico24278+2%
South Dakota13206+52%
North Dakota9117+1%
New Hampshire883+6%
Rhode Island553+27%
District of Columbia222+31%

Top Cities for Memorial Day Weekend Fatal Crashes

Just as in the state data, Texas cities dominate this list.  Of the 20 cities with the most fatal crashes during Memorial Day weekend, five are located in Texas: San Antonio (21), Houston (21), Dallas (13), Fort Worth (7) and Austin (7).

Rounding out the top 10 are Chicago (17), Los Angeles (15), Indianapolis (10), New York City (9), Memphis (9), Detriot (9), and Philadelphia (7).

Crashes by Time of Day

When are you most likely to be involved in a fatal crash this Memorial Day weekend?

It turns out that 8 – 9 pm is the deadliest hour with 162 fatal crashes – followed by 10 – 11 pm (150) then 4 – 5 pm (143).

Overall, 35 percent of fatal crashes were considered alcohol involved.  However, from midnight to 4 am over 62 percent of fatal crashes involved at least one drunk driver.

Takeaways and Safety Tips

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. AAA estimates that over 43 million Americans will kick off their summer with a Memorial Day road trip.  Additionally, this holiday weekend has become synonymous with BBQs and heavy drinking.

If you plan to take to the road this Memorial Day weekend, we at Flanagan P.A. strongly urge you to take these tips:

  • Don’t drink and drive – Again, 35 percent of Memorial Day fatal crashes involve drunk drivers.  Alcohol and motor vehicle use is a deadly combination.
  • Designate a driver or secure a safe ride – If you do consume alcohol, secure a safe and sober ride home – be it with a designated driver, public transportation, or a taxi or rideshare vehicle.
  • Don’t drive drowsy – Taking a long road trip or spending a day in the sun at a BBQ can leave you worn out and drowsy.  Take a rest before you drive and stop if you feel drowsy.
  • Don’t engage in distracting behaviors – Texting and driving, using a handheld mobile phone, eating, and many other actions can significantly impair your ability to react to hazards on the road.  It can wait.
  • Obey all posted road signs and traffic signals (especially speed limits) – After alcohol, speed is the number one killer on U.S. roadways.  Getting to your destination a few minutes earlier is not worth your life.
  • Inspect your vehicle:  Before you drive, walk around your vehicle and inspect your tires to make sure they are properly inflated and have adequate tread.  Don’t put off required maintenance such as brake replacements, oil changes, and regular tune-ups.

With these tips in mind and an understanding of the increased crash risk, we can all enjoy a safe and fun memorial day weekend.

No matter your type of injury, our Miami personal injury lawyers are ready to help you seek justice. Speak with us today at (305) 615-6080.

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