Since November 7, 2000, every day has been a deadly day for car accidents in Texas. Driver error, such as drinking and driving or texting and driving, causes most fatal accidents. However, as outlined below, some days are deadlier than others. Weather conditions and/or holiday celebrations account for most of the difference on the deadliest day of the year for car accidents.
The driver errors mentioned above usually involve negligence. If that’s the case, a Houston car accident lawyer can obtain substantial compensation in court. Compensation includes money for economic losses, medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available.
This time of year, the weather is still relatively mild. But the days are noticeably shorter, and the sunlight is considerably dimmer than during August and September. The lower light levels often mean reduced visibility. So many drivers multitask behind the wheel that the extra moment drivers need to see hazards makes a big difference in the fatality rate.
July is the middle of the deadliest time of year for vehicle collisions. Most car crashes occur between July 1 and October 1. The weather is usually clear during July, it often isn’t public health warning hot, even in Houston, and pretty much everyone has at least part of this month off. The heavier the traffic is, the more common fatal vehicle collisions are.
Additionally, July 5 is often in the middle of the deadliest weekend on the calendar, at least in terms of car crash fatalities. More on that below.
Halloween is, by far, the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians. Lots of small children are out around dusk. Small children often don’t look both ways before crossing the street and rarely use marked crosswalks.
The comparative fault defense sometimes applies when adults dart into the street without looking. This defense could reduce the victim’s compensation in Texas or even torpedo a damage claim altogether.
But children are held to a different standard, mainly because a child’s hypothalamus (part of the brain which regulates risk/reward balance) is severely underdeveloped. As a result, small children often refuse to brush their teeth and chase balls into the street because they cannot accurately weigh the risks and rewards of such behaviors. This idea comes up in other personal injury cases, and most dog bite claims.
No surprises here either. Almost half of Americans admit they binge drink on New Year’s Eve. These individuals are seriously impaired when they get behind the wheel.
Even more disturbingly, alcohol impairment begins with the first sip of champagne or other drink. The impairing effects of alcohol include clouded judgment and slow motor skills. Evidence of alcohol impairment includes erratic driving before the crash and physical symptoms, like bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. In other words, even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) isn’t legally intoxicated, the tortfeasor could be legally responsible for damages.
If a bar, restaurant, or another commercial provider illegally sold alcohol to the tortfeasor, that provider could be financially responsible for damages. In addition, it’s illegal to sell alcohol without a license at certain times and to persons who are visibly intoxicated.
The first day of summer is the longest day of the year. More sunlight at night means more people on the road at night.
Fatigued driving is often a factor in such wrecks. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours, which is about how long the sun is up on June 21, is like driving with a .08 BAC level. Fatigued, like alcohol, impairs judgment and motor skills.
George Washington laid the capitol building’s cornerstone on this day in 1793, and future President Jimmy Carter filed a UFO sighting report on September 18, 1973. However, there is nothing exceptional about this late summer day. Yet, the number of car crash fatalities spikes noticeably on this date for some reason.
Fred Trump (Donald’s father), Eleanor Roosevelt, and Cardi B were all born on October 11. But in terms of car wrecks, there is nothing special about this date. However, it is close to the July 1 to October 1 window.
Most likely, drivers are not out celebrating All Saints Day when they are involved in fatal collisions on this date. Instead, they are probably driving home after a Halloween party. So, November 1 and January 1 have a lot in common. However, the car crash fatality rate is perhaps lower on January 1 because police officers are usually out in force on New Year’s Day.
August 2 is another middle day. It’s almost exactly in the center of the July 1 to October 1 bell curve of fatal car accidents. So, it’s not surprising to see this day so high on this list.
Fatigued driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving, all of which were mentioned above, are at their peak on Independence Day. Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year for car accidents.
It feels wrong to leave an Independence Day party before the fireworks show. Since these shows don’t start until late, many people are incredibly drowsy by the time they start home because the sun goes down so late. More importantly, at this point, many drowsy drivers are impaired, but they don’t feel tired.
To many people, July Fourth also means spending time with friends and drinking alcohol. A car full of friends makes a trip more enjoyable. But when motorists must also serve as party hosts, they usually neglect driving duties. Furthermore, many people drink even more than usual during warm weather. Alcohol impairment increases significantly with every sip, making driving even more dangerous.
No matter what the calendar says, injured victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas Boundas LLP. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.