December 24 marks anniversary of drunk driving death

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Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s should be a time of joy but drunk drivers can make the holiday season anything but joyful.

While most people in Tennessee will be able to look forward to joyous celebrations this holiday season, one Memphis family will be left with a sad void. WMCActionNews5.com explains that on Christmas Eve last year, their loved one was hit and killed by a drunk driver in Mississippi. The victim was a college student and a college football player. He even had hopes of playing in the National Football League after graduation.

All of those dreams and others were eliminated when a drunk driver hit him as he rode his bike home. His sister and mother were notified by phone the following day.

Not a unique story

As tragic as this family's story is, what perhaps makes it worse is that it is not an isolated case. Too many other families in America lose loved ones due to the choices by some to drink and drive. This is a choice that appears to increase during the holidays.

According to the National Safety Council, three of the six most deadly holidays on the roads due to drunk drivers are Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. In most years, Thanksgiving is found to be even deadlier than Christmas and New Year's. This can be due to the fact that this holiday always spans a full weekend. With both Christmas and New Year also encompassing a full weekend this year, the potential for more accidents may increase.

BACtrack.com notes that not only do drunk driving accidents jump between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, but so too do the number of arrests for drunk driving.

How many people die in these crashes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records from 2001 to 2005 were used to compare drunk driving fatalities at different times of the year.

The results showed that for dates in December not directly associated with a holiday, 33 fatalities per day due to drunk drivers were noted. This represented a total of 28 percent of all vehicular deaths that occurred throughout the month.

For dates in December that were directly associated with a holiday, specifically Christmas, 45 fatalities per day due to drunk drivers were noted. This represented a total of 38 percent of all vehicular deaths.

For dates directly associated with the New Year's holiday, 54 fatalities per day due to drunk drivers were noted, representing a total of 41 percent of all vehicular deaths occurring on New Year's.

In looking at the rest of the year, there were 36 average daily drunk driving fatalities across the U.S. This accounted for 31 percent of all accident deaths.

What can Tennesseans do?

Most times, defensive driving tactics are unsuccessful in avoiding an accident with a drunk driver and result in serious injuries or even death. Working with an attorney is a recommended way of obtaining the help and compensation deserved.