Don’t Become a Statistic This Memorial Day Weekend

by ShelbyW on May 24, 2013

As people prepare to enjoy Memorial Day weekend across the United States, transportation officials estimate that at least 89 percent of travelers will be driving this weekend. That amounts to over 31.2 million people and has increased slightly from years prior.

Safety Statistics

Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of people on the roadways, Memorial Day weekend has become the most dangerous holiday of the year for drivers everywhere. Typically, it is estimated that an average of 406 people die as a result of roadway accidents during this holiday, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.

Additionally, forty percent of those traffic fatalities during the Memorial Day holiday are usually caused by people driving under the influence, as compared to 31 percent over the balance of the year. As stated on the website of a highly respected group of Charlotte auto accident attorneys, “Despite increased awareness and enforcement, people continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol, and there will continue to be innocent victims of drunk driving accidents.”

DUI Repercussions

Every driver should keep in mind that the penalties for DUI in every state have been on the rise. With the low alcohol level of .08 BAC, it is easy to become cited for this offense. The disruptions of a DUI are significant and can turn any trip into a nightmare. Aside from the possibility of injury or death for the driver, his or her passengers and others, the legal and financial penalties are severe.

For instance, in North Carolina a first DUI may result in a $2,000 fine, up to 24 hour jail sentence and a year long license suspension. Second offenses and up could result in 4 year license suspensions and mandatory jail time for drivers with high BACs. The penalties are even stiffer when there are children in the vehicle.


Below are some safety measures to consider in order to avoid accidents over the busy Memorial Day weekend.

1. Pack the vehicle wisely and keep items needed handy for everyone’s comfort and safety. Ensure that all passengers have their seat belts on to avoid crash related injuries and deaths.

2. Since heavier traffic begins by early Friday afternoon, it is best to avoid that time as much as possible. Leaving early Friday morning or very late in the evening not only saves time for travelers, but because it is less taxing on the engine and cooler in the car, less fuel is burned. Smaller children are more likely to sleep, making everyone’s trip more pleasant.

3. Switch drivers to avoid fatigue. Even for shorter trips, sitting in traffic can make a trip unpleasant. Therefore, swapping drivers every 2 to 3 hours is a great way to break the monotony. It also gives everyone the chance to take a break.

4. Try to avoid more crowded roadways and have a backup plan and alternate route handy. Also, consider stopping for a few hours to visit a town on the way or have a nice meal, rather than sitting still in heavy traffic.

5. Those enjoying parties and barbecues should take safety precautions ahead of time. For instance, ensure that a proper meal is had prior to consuming alcohol. Set limits and arrange for a designated driver or alternative transportation.

While every town positions more policemen on the roads, it is impossible for them to ensure that all drivers are taking safety precautions and driving responsibly. Unfortunately, there will be more people driving under the influence than there will be uniformed officers available.

Therefore, everyone is urged to be on the lookout for erratic driving. Drivers and pedestrians spotting suspected drunken drivers are encouraged to report it by calling 911. When all motorists are vigilant and report incidents on the road, fewer accidents will occur.

Legal researcher Shelby Warden hopes this information will remind you to drive safely this weekend. The Charlotte auto accident attorneys of Auger & Auger have been representing the victims of alcohol related accidents for over 25 years. They aggressively fight to obtain the maximum jury settlement or award possible for those who have been harmed by drunk drivers.

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