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DUI's High Over Memorial Day Weekend

Alcohol-impaired car crashes are highest during the summer holidays, so drive carefully.

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By May Wilkerson

05/28/12

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New Year's Eve may get a bad rap when it comes to highway safety, but Memorial Day weekend doesn't come far behind as one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road, according to statistics. The holiday, which originated as a day to commemorate our fallen soldiers, has also come to symbolize the beginning of the summer—for many revelers, this includes heavy boozing. And unfortunately, some of these drunks get behind the wheel. According to research compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which tracks car crash statistics, drunk driving fatalities are highest during the weekends of Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth-of-July. NHTSA reports 397 deaths from car accidents over Memorial Day Weekend in 2010, and 40% of these were alcohol-related. New Year's, Christmas and Thanksgiving are also dangerous times for drivers, according to the data. In 2010 overall, more than 10,000 people in the US died in drunk driving incidents—that's one every 51 minutes. Most of these accidents take place on the weekends and at night, and a higher proportion occur on two-lane roads, and on rainy days.

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