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What Causes the Most Fatal Crashes in South Carolina Over the Holidays?

Suspected DUI accident on the highway

A Beaufort, SC Car Accident Attorney Discusses

Christmas is called "the most wonderful time of the year," but it is also one of the most dangerous due to an increase in drunk drivers on the road, according to a new study.

An analysis of car accidents around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays reveals that people are significantly more likely to drive impaired around Christmas than on Thanksgiving Day.

In South Carolina over the last 10 years, more than twice as many deadly accidents have taken place around Christmas compared to Thanksgiving, according to research by ValuePenguin.

Holiday Drunk Driving Spike

In South Carolina, like most states, we experience a spike in drunk driving accidents as people attend more celebrations and travel far distances to be with loved ones.

On average, over the course of a year, alcohol-impaired crashes account for about 28% of all deadly car accidents in South Carolina.

But during the holidays the rate of fatal drunk driving crashes leaps to 45%. From 2015 to 2019, South Carolina has experienced 74 holiday-related fatal car accidents - about 33 of those involved alcohol.

Safety advocates are alerting drivers to the increased risks as the rate of fatal impaired driving crashes is expected to spike again this year.

'Sober Or Slammer' Holiday Edition

South Carolina law enforcement plan to prevent as many drunk and impaired crashes as possible to finish out 2021.

The state's Department of Public Safety is in the midst of a campaign to crack down on holiday drunk driving - "Sober or Slammer! Holiday."

From now through New Year's Day, South Carolina Highway Patrol is stepping up traffic enforcement and mostly targetting well-traveled roadways. There will also be public safety sobriety checkpoints set up throughout the state.

The campaign carries a few messages. It stresses the human loss and tragedy that results from fatal and serious drunk driving crashes as well as what it may cost the drunk driver - "Drink. Drive. Die."

"While the holidays are a time of celebration for most, this season is also a painful time for the more than 1,000 families who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle collisions," SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods, IV said in a statement.

"The losses are incalculable for those affected and should motivate all drivers in the state to make safe and defensive driving priority one in keeping their families safe."

South Carolina Drunk Driving Statistics

South Carolina has struggled to reduce fatal drunk driving crashes and remains among the states reporting the most drunk driving fatalities each year.

Our overall crash rate is high. For every 100,000 South Carolinians, there are 5.7 fatal alcohol-impaired wrecks. The national rate is 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to

It's worth noting that while South Carolina has a high drunk driving fatal crash rate, people here are less likely to ever do it again. The percent of drivers in fatal crashes involving repeat drunk driving offenders is 14% in South Carolina, but over 25% nationwide.

South Carolina public safety has issued a handful of tips on what a drunk or buzzed driver can do instead of driving themselves home after a holiday celebration.

Alternatives to driving drunk include:

  • Designate a sober driver
  • Use public transportation
  • Use a rideshare service such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, etc.
  • Call a cab or taxi service

Justice for South Carolina Crash Victims

If you were injured or a loved one died after getting hit by a drunk driver, you deserve answers, justice, and compensation.

At Twenge + Twombley Law Firm, our attorneys know how to help. We conduct thorough investigations, build strong cases, and fight for the best possible outcome. We are aggressive in protecting your rights and advocating for the compensation you're entitled to, whether that's in settlement negotiations with an insurance company or in court in front of a judge and jury.

To find out how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Beaufort, SC car accident lawyer. There are no obligations, and we work cases on contingency. That means there's no upfront money required to hire us, and you pay nothing unless we win your case.

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