Fourth of July Causes a Spike in Fatal Oklahoma Car Accidents
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) releases annual reports on when and where crashes occur throughout the state, revealing information about Oklahoma’s top 20 cities for fatal car accidents. In addition to publishing reports on counties and cities, OHSO also compiles data on accidents during various holidays, including Independence Day. The following statistics are sourced from OHSO’s 2014 and 2015 reports on Fourth of July weekend car accidents in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Fourth of July Auto Accident Statistics: Injuries, Deaths, and Intoxicated Driving
OHSO defines the Independence Day holiday as the 78-hour period lasting from 6:00 P.M. on the Thursday before the Fourth of July until midnight of the following Sunday.
OHSO recorded 411 total accidents involving 926 people during the 2014 Fourth of July weekend (Thursday, July 3 through Sunday, July 6). Seven of these accidents were fatal, resulting in 11 deaths. A total of 138 crashes (33.6%) caused injuries, with 208 people (22.5%) injured as a result. In other words, about one in five people were injured, though more than one third of the crashes produced injuries.
Unsurprisingly, driver intoxication by drugs and alcohol played a role in about 12% of the crashes that were documented during the 2014 holiday (49 out of 411 crashes). Despite being a factor in only about one out of 10 crashes overall during the 2014 Independence Day weekend, driver intoxication was responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths and fatal crashes. Four out of seven fatal accidents that year involved drugs or alcohol, which were also causes of or contributing factors to five out of the 11 deaths in 2014. Additionally, 19 out of the 138 injury crashes in 2014 involved driver intoxication, as did 30 out of the 208 injuries.
While drunk driving causes accidents year-round – a topic we explored in our article on how many car crashes are caused by intoxicated driving – the risk of being hit by a drunk driver is especially great during holidays, when millions of people are celebrating and partying. (Intoxication also increases the risk of a fireworks accident occurring.) If you were injured by an intoxicated driver, something called dram shop liability may play a role in your claim. Call our Oklahoma City DUI accident lawyers for help if you think you were the victim of a drunk driver.
Crashes, Injuries, Fatalities Increased from 2014 to 2015
Unfortunately, there were almost no safety improvements the following year.
In 2015, the Independence Day holiday lasted from Thursday, July 2 through Sunday, July 5. During this time, OHSO documented a total of 561 crashes – a staggering 150-accident increase from the previous year. A total of 1,334 people were involved in these crashes, an increase of 408 people from Fourth of July weekend 2014.
Among the 561 Fourth of July accidents reported in 2015, a total of 192 – just over one third – resulted in injuries, with 330 out of the 1,334 people (24.7%) who were involved sustaining injuries. While the number of injury crashes stayed almost exactly the same percentage-wise, the overall percentage of people were consequentially injured increased slightly from 2014 to 2015.
The number of fatal accidents also increased, rising from seven in 2014 to 11 in 2015. The total number deaths increased slightly as well, rising from 11 to 12 deaths.
Drug and alcohol use also rose by nearly every measure from 2014 to 2015. The number of total accidents that were caused or contributed to by driver intoxication climbed from 49 to 57. At the same time, the number of injury DUI accidents rose from 19 to 24, while the resulting number of injuries climbed from 30 to 37.
Surprisingly, the number of fatal crashes caused by intoxicated driving decreased slightly, shrinking from four to three in 2015. Likewise, the number of DUI-related fatalities during the Fourth of July weekend also decreased from five fatalities to three. However, any number of deaths is a tragedy, and the loss of even a single life is one too many. Hopefully, Fourth of July 2016 will be an improvement over the previous years.
Hurt in a Car Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver? OKC Lawyers at Hasbrook & Hasbrook Can Help
We hope that you and your loved ones will stay safe this Fourth of July holiday. Unfortunately, as OHSO statistics make amply clear, the risk of getting into an accident is fairly high.
If you or one of your family members gets injured by a careless or drunk driver in Oklahoma this Independence Day weekend, know you can turn to the knowledgeable and experienced Canadian County car accident attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook for help determining whether you could have a personal injury claim. Our Cleveland County car crash lawyers handle accident claims throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Lincoln County, Logan County, McClain County, and more.
We know it’s difficult to get back on your feet after being in a car accident, so don’t worry about legal fees: we won’t charge you anything unless we recover compensation for you. Call our personal injury law offices right away at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation. We’re here to provide friendly support and assistance in determining what your family’s legal options may be after a crash.