[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.

Year Fatal Crashes Fatalities
2012 392 432
2013 395 443
2014 410 443
2015 423 469
2016 468 523
2017 418 466

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. 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.

State Fatal Crashes Fatalities Drunk Drivers vs Typical 4 Day Period
Texas 269 307 94 +15%
California 215 248 78 -2%
Florida 199 215 51 +10%
North Carolina 98 103 45 +10%
Pennsylvania 93 97 38 +17%
Georgia 85 93 27 -4%
Ohio 80 90 32 +12%
New York 78 81 14 +8%
Michigan 76 82 29 +19%
Tennessee 76 88 29 +15%
South Carolina 73 80 31 +22%
Illinois 67 74 18 +1%
Missouri 60 63 26 +7%
Louisiana 59 67 26 +21%
Virginia 56 59 26 +12%
Wisconsin 56 72 22 +48%
Kentucky 52 56 22 +7%
Alabama 51 53 18 -14%
Oklahoma 51 59 20 +15%
Indiana 50 54 13 -6%
Mississippi 49 53 14 +16%
Arizona 46 56 19 -21%
New Jersey 41 48 14 +8%
Washington 41 49 19 +25%
Arkansas 40 42 11 +17%
Massachusetts 38 41 13 +60%
Colorado 33 37 22 -7%
West Virginia 33 34 19 +69%
Minnesota 31 32 9 +23%
Maryland 29 30 8 -12%
Oregon 26 30 15 -1%
Iowa 25 25 12 +11%
New Mexico 24 27 8 +2%
Kansas 23 25 11 -12%
Connecticut 20 22 6 +11%
Idaho 19 22 6 +34%
Nevada 18 20 7 -8%
Utah 18 19 7 +8%
Nebraska 15 16 5 +2%
South Dakota 13 20 6 +52%
Alaska 10 10 3 +122%
Montana 9 9 3 -33%
North Dakota 9 11 7 +1%
Vermont 9 11 6 +117%
Maine 8 9 4 -21%
New Hampshire 8 8 3 +6%
Delaware 7 8 4 -10%
Wyoming 7 8 3 -14%
Hawaii 6 6 5 -15%
Rhode Island 5 5 3 +27%
District of Columbia 2 2 2 +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).

Memorial Day Fatal Crashes by State

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) 638-4143.