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Deadliest cities for driving on Cinco de Mayo

Fiesta day takes a deadly turn from drunk driving — with nearly 80% of fatal accidents in the deadliest city attributable to drunk-driving.

The fun of celebrating Cinco de Mayo can lead to deadly accidents if celebrators aren’t careful. Drunk driving is the major factor, especially in some of the deadliest cities like Tuscon, as our research shows. What’s more: drunk drivers accounted for around half of the deaths in the top two deadliest states for driving on Cinco de Mayo.

We analyzed the National Highway Safety Administration’s most recent data collected for Cinco de Mayo to find which cities and states are the most dangerous for driving over the holiday weekend. We also analyzed data for Cinco de Mayo over the span of 10 years, between 2010 and 2019, to determine if driving deaths are going up and which Cinco de Mayo day of the week is the deadliest.

Which cities were deadliest on Cinco de Mayo?

At five fatalities, Tuscon, Arizona takes the lead for the most dangerous city to drive in on Cinco de Mayo. It’s closely followed by Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas with four total deaths. Maricopa, Los Angeles and Iowa city all rank third deadliest cities to be on the road in, each with three deaths.

RankCityStateNumber of deaths
3Los AngelesCalifornia3
3Iowa CityIowa3

Which states were deadliest on Cinco de Mayo?

Take care driving through California on Cinco de Mayo, this state accounts for nearly 12% (13 deaths) of Cinco de Mayo road fatalities in 2019. Arizona ranks second on our list with about 9% (10 deaths) of total deaths, followed by Texas with 8% (9 deaths) of total deaths on this holiday.

RankStateNumber of deaths
5South Carolina6

Which city had the most drunk-driving deaths?

Drinking-related Cinco de Mayo festivities come with a consequence, with near 37% of all Cinco de Mayo road fatalities in 2019 attributable to drunk drivers. Of all drunk driving fatalities on this day, the deadliest state overall also has the highest number of drunk-driving deaths with four deaths.

RankCityStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths
2ProvidenceRhode Island2
2GaffneySouth Carolina2

Which state had the most drunk-driving deaths?

When it comes to drunk drivers, Arizona and California top the list with six alcohol-related road fatalities on this holiday in 2019. South Carolina follows with five alcohol-related deaths. These three states made up about 42% of the drunk driving deaths on Cinco de Mayo in 2019.

RankStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths
2South Carolina5

Deadliest time of day for driving on Cinco de Mayo

If you’re on the road on Cinco de Mayo, you might want to do so earlier in the day. Of the total fatal accidents on this day, 14% occurred between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon in 2019. Compare that number to driving in the afternoon and evening (between noon and 8 p.m.), which accounts for 43% of road deaths each year.

Time of dayDeaths% of total deaths

It may not surprise you that more than half of the deaths occurring at night on Cinco de Mayo were related to drunk-driving. Drunk driving deaths are six times more likely to occur at night, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., than in the morning.

Time of dayDrunk-driving deaths% of total deaths

Cinco de Mayo fatal accidents over 10 years

Deadly car accidents for this holiday over the past 10 years don’t hold a steady increase over the years. In fact, the highest number of fatal crashes on Cinco de Mayo happened in 2012 with 122 fatal car accidents. And, 2014 saw the least amount of deadly accidents with 62 fatal crashes.

RankYearCinco de Mayo fatal crashes over 10 years

Which Cinco de Mayo day of the week is the deadliest?

Over the span of 10 years, Saturday Cinco de Mayos prove to be the most deadly day to be on the road with 133 road fatalities. Sunday Cinco de Mayos rank second for the most dangerous driving day, with 119 deaths. Some days over the past 10 years have seen Cinco de Mayo twice, for those days we averaged the number of deaths for both years on that day to determine the deadliest days.

RankDay of the weekAverage deaths due to crashes

Protect yourself on Cinco de Mayo with car insurance

Drunk driving can put a damper on May 5th celebrations, or worse if they lead to a deadly car accident. And it looks like the worst of the numbers happen during afternoon and nighttime celebrations.

If you plan to margarita the night away, make sure you take the necessary precautions, like designating a sober driver and keeping enough car insurance coverage just in case.

How did we find these stats?

We analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2019 to determine the states and cities most deadly for Cinco de Mayo in 2019. For the purpose of our study, we removed data without corresponding ZIP codes. To analyze Cinco de Mayo driving fatalities over time, we pulled data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the years between 2010 and 2019.

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