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Summer holidays and traffic fatalities

With the Memorial Day weekend, residents in Alaska welcomed the summer and all that is associated with this time of year. From backyard barbeques to outdoor adventures and more, many people will hop in their cars to head to their favorite summertime events. As more people are on the roads, however, it is important to be aware of the dangers that may be faced by motorists and their passengers.

According to Value Penguin, the three summer holiday weekends have the highest number of deaths annually based on data from 2011 to 2015. When a typical three-day period saw an average of 250 people die in automobile accidents, the Memorial Day weekend saw 312 die. Coming in at second and third place was Labor Day with 308 fatalities and the Fourth of July with 307.

Many of the deaths noted above were in accidents in which alcohol was a factor. Over the Memorial Day holidays, more than 40 percent of the deaths were in drunk driving accidents. Over Labor Day and Fourth of July, more than 36 and 38 percent, respectively died in alcohol-related crashes.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that across Alaska, 2016 saw a big jump in automotive fatalities. That year, 84 people died statewide, up from 64 the prior year. Almost 39 percent of the deaths were in wrecks involving alcohol. Speed was a noted factor in almost 43 percent of the deaths. In Anchorage alone, 21 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2016, five of which died in drunk driving accidents. Four people were killed in crashes involving excessive speed.




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