November 22, 2023

Study: Mississippi leads USA in Thanksgiving traffic fatalities

Therese Apel

Generic car accident. Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

According to a new study based on nearly a decade of data, Mississippi sees more traffic fatalities on average per capita Thanksgiving weekend than any other U.S. state.

The website says nationally, data shows the number of fatal traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday rose by 24% in the two years after the COVID-19 outbreak, hitting the highest level since 2007, as more people chose to avoid air travel on what is traditionally the busiest travel holiday of the year.

Each year, the Mississippi Highway Patrol conducts a Thanksgiving enforcement period. State Troopers will focus enforcement efforts on state and federal highways and interstate systems to reduce reckless driving, speeding, and distracted driving issues. Safety checkpoints will be conducted throughout the period to enforce child restraint and seatbelt laws while also removing impaired drivers and trying to insure that motorists make it safely to their holiday destinations.

According to the study Mississippi sees the most deadly crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period on Saturday, followed by Thursday and Friday. The single-deadliest hour of the holiday period is 6-7p.m  Thanksgiving Day, followed by 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday and 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.

Per  hour, the most fatal crashes occur on Wednesday night as millions of people hit the road for a long holiday weekend and to complete last-minute shopping.

In the 10 years from 2012 through 2021, Thanksgiving ranked as the third-deadliest driving holiday of the year, behind the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

In 2021, the last year for which data is available, fatal traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday totaled 479, the most since 2007 and a 24% increase from 2019.

Nearly half (48%) of fatal crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday involved either speeding or drinking. Drinking was involved in 28% and speeding was involved in 33%; both were involved in 12%.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of drivers behind the wheel during Thanksgiving holiday fatal crashes were male. More than a third of drivers were in their 20s, and 27% were men in their 20s.

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