Car accidents increase around holidays, NHTSA says

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Car accidents tend to increase around the holidays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) says impaired driving-related crashes are 100% preventable. AAA and Richmond Police have some great tips for drivers to stay safe and vigilant on the roads this holiday season.

“You’re going to see that there’s a lot more traffic,” says Major Josh Hale with the Richmond Police Department. “We see an influx of accidents because of that too.”

Over the last five years, KYTC says there have been over 500 impaired-driving crashes between Christmas and New Years, resulting in 244 injuries and 13 deaths. However, AAA says the overall number of car wreck deaths in Kentucky is down from last year.

“We’re at 696 across Kentucky and last year at this time we were at 776,” says Lori Weaver Hawkins, public affairs manager for AAA BlueGrass. “December is always a busy traffic time not only with people inside the metro but also out on the highways getting to those destinations for their get-togethers.”

There are many reasons for the increase in accidents. From driving ‘buzzed’ or drunk to being distracted by more than just a phone.

“Obviously, drinking and driving is a risk at any point,” says Hale. “Before you take one drink, make sure that you’re planning ahead to have a sober ride whether that’s a taxi or a family member or a ridesharing or whatever it is but if you wait until you start drinking to make the smart decision, you won’t do it.”

“If you’re going to enjoy some of the decorations that some of the neighborhoods have up, please just do so safely. Pullover curbside when you can to get a good look and then safely move on, instead of, you know, being distracted and not keeping your eyes on the road,” says Weaver Hawkins.

Above all, AAA and law enforcement say to slow down this holiday season and keep extra distance between you and others on the road to avoid accidents.

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