The TSA expects an estimated 65 – 70 million travelers this Spring Break. The week-long escape from school and work has become a tradition for some, and almost a rite of passage for college students. It’s no surprise that as the number of spring breakers rise, so do the numbers of injuries and arrests. While the worst most may suffer on Spring Break is a sunburn and a hangover, for others the damage can be far more severe.
The death toll in traffic accidents at spring break destinations spikes 9.1% higher among drivers under 25. The CDC also warns that someone is killed every 31 minutes in a drunk driving accident during normal times; during spring break, those numbers increase by as much as 23%. Binge drinking and Spring Break, unfortunately, seem to go hand-in-hand. A study by the American College of Health reports the average male will consume 18 drinks a day and the average female 10 drinks during this vacation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, during Spring Break 11% drink to the point of blacking out or passing out. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new study by researchers at the University of Miami found car-crash fatalities increase significantly at popular spring break destinations during the spring break season, from the end of February through early April .
The study, “Fast Times During Spring Breaks: Are Traffic Fatalities Another Consequence?” published in the journal Economic Inquiry, found the news is bad for everyone, including residents and other visitors of spring break hot spots, not just for the students who travel there for a weeklong break.
Examining fatal wrecks at 14 spring break destinations in seven states, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, the study found:
- Weekly death tolls in the 14 counties studied jumped 9.1 percent during spring break.
- 16 more traffic fatalities annually in the 14 counties.
- Car-crash deaths involving out-of-state motorists were significantly higher than for in-state drivers.
- Fatal wrecks involving drivers under 25 years of age were more likely than deadly crashes connected with older motorists.
- Even though spring break is usually filled with heavy drinking, no significant statistical difference could be found between fatal crashes involving impaired drivers and deadly wrecks involving non-impaired drivers.
Underscoring the spring break effect was the fact that the fatal accidents in the spring break hotspots disproportionately involved out-of-state drivers and no comparable increase in fatal accidents was reported in non-spring break counties during the same period.
Being vigilant is the best way to prevent a spring break car accident. Taking extra time to allow for travel issues on the road and making sure each person has an equal opportunity to get rest before taking over the wheel is the best way to avoid distracted or drowsy driving, too.
When visiting a new place, make sure that alternative travel plans have been made if you plan to be drinking. Having a designated driver is always an important plan, but relying on cabs or public transportation by booking it into your schedule in advance can help you avoid a drinking and driving situation. Check out all options before traveling so you know who to call when the time comes.
If out with other people who have been drinking and don’t realize how much they have consumed, have a plan for acquiring other transportation to help them. Never let a friend drink and drive. Overlooking your limit or allowing a friend to get behind the wheel could have serious consequences like major injuries or fatalities.
We want your and your loved ones Spring Break to be not only fun and memorable but safe! The CDC offers a list on how to help you stay safe.
Any one injured in a car accident caused by the fault of another driver may have a legal right to seek compensation from that at-fault driver’s insurance company. It’s a good idea to have a knowledgeable Dallas personal injury attorney review the specifics of the accident and explain your legal options.