Why is August a Deadly Drunk Driving Month?

When most people think of deadly times for drunk driving, they think of major holidays like New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc. However, are there certain months more dangerous than others when it comes to impaired driving?

Surprisingly, August is a relatively dangerous month when it comes to driving overall. Here, we want to discuss why there may be an increase in drunk driving incidents during August as well as other reasons that this particular month can present more challenges on the roadway.

What is Happening in August?

If we turn to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we see that this agency keeps track of monthly vehicle accidents during the course of each year. During the most recent reporting gear available through their data, we can see that August is the month where there were the most traffic fatalities, with 3,083 total deaths resulting from vehicle crashes. Additionally, we can see that August was also the month that led the way for non-fatal traffic injuries.

This is interesting because August is not the month where most vehicle accidents occurred overall during that same reporting year, only the month where there were the most injuries and deaths.

But why? Why is August more dangerous?

DUIs Spike in Summer Months

Aside from driving too fast for conditions, alcohol-impaired driving causes more fatalities on the roadways than anything else. There are a variety of reasons why the DUIs increased during the summer months. Summer is when many more people are out partying. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, college students and teenagers. This is also the time of year when many adults decide to take their family vacations. Sometimes, family vacations turn into affairs where too much alcohol is consumed.

Warmer Weather Means More Drivers

Warmer weather typically means more drivers on the roadways, especially in Oregon, where driving in the winter is certainly not fun. Towards the end of summer, August represents the time of year when families and younger people are getting in last-minute vacations before school starts back. More people hit the roadways in August. More vehicles usually mean more car accidents.

Additionally, the summer months tend to lower the average age range of drivers on the road. This is the time of year when teenagers are on vacation, and they are experiencing the freedom of getting behind the wheel without adults. This is also the time of year that represents the most dangerous for teenage drivers.

What Does the Data From Oregon Say?

When we turn to data available from the Oregon Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 4,332 total vehicle collisions in August during the latest reporting year. Out of these incidents, there were 3,545 total injuries and 51 fatalities. In Oregon, August was the 3rd deadliest month of the year as opposed to the 1st deadliest, as seen in national stats. We are certainly glad that Oregon does not tend to follow the same national trend of August being the deadliest month, but that does not make August particularly safe for our citizens. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings when they head out on the roadways, particularly in the summer months and other times of the year when there could be additional hazards on the roadway.