Deadliest cities to drive in during New Year’s weekend

Watch out for drunk drivers and driving at night, especially in California

Updated

Fact checked
Open road in the mountains on a cloudy day

Take care when driving over New Year’s: The holiday weekend ranks as the sixth-deadliest major holiday weekend in the US, according to finder.com research.

We analyzed data for every state collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2011 to 2017, finding that each year, road fatalities spike to an average of 248 deaths over New Year’s weekend.

Unfortunately, drunk driving for the New Year’s holiday was up last year, with 270 total road deaths in 2017 versus 249 in 2018. Let’s look forward to a downward trend for 2019.

Which cities were deadliest over New Year’s weekend 2018?

The three most deadly cities were Los Angeles and San Diego, both in California. We found a three-way tie for third most dangerous city on the road over New Year’s at five fatalities each for Riverside, California, Dallas, Texas and Orlando, Florida.

Rank Deadliest City State Number of deaths
1 Los Angeles California 10
2 San Diego California 6
3 Riverside California 5
3 Dallas Texas 5
3 Orlando Florida 5

*Rankings are based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from December 30, 2017, to January 1, 2018. Note that Riverside includes all of Riverside County.

Which states were deadliest over New Year’s weekend 2018?

California was the most deadly state to drive in over New Year’s weekend 2018, accounting for 15% of road fatalities or 40 deaths in 2018. Next is Florida at 12% (33 deaths) and Texas at 11% (31 deaths). This isn’t surprising, since California often tops the list for states with the most crashes due to the high number of drivers and traffic congestion.

Rank State Number of deaths % of Total deaths
1 California 40 15%
2 Florida 33 12%
3 Texas 31 11%
4 North Carolina 12 4%
5 Michigan 10 4%
5 Georgia 10 4%
6 Arizona 9 3%

*Rankings are based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from December 30, 2017, to January 1, 2018. We rounded percentages to the nearest whole number.

Most dangerous time to be on the road

Given that most celebrations take place by moonlight, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that nighttime is the most dangerous time to be on the road over New Year’s weekend, with 38% of all fatalities (103 deaths) in 2018 occurring between midnight and 6 am.

However, unlike with Christmas and other holiday weekends, we found little difference between driving in the morning or driving in the afternoon when it came to the number of fatalities in 2018. The next most dangerous time to drive was 4 pm to 7 pm, with 18% of fatalities and 49 deaths total.

Time of day Number of deaths % of Total deaths
Daytime 116 43%
Nighttime 154 57%

*Rankings are based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from December 30, 2017, to January 1, 2018. We rounded percentages to the nearest whole number.

Drunk driving worst during night

Popping Champagne is nearly synonymous with ringing in the new year, which is part of why drunk driving is a major problem over New Year’s.

Over the extended holiday in 2018, nearly half (45%) of driving fatalities were attributed to drunk driving. 39% of those crashes involved drivers with a BAC of at least .08. For context, the legal limit is typically around 0.15%, depending on the state.

Time of day Number of deaths % of Drunk driving deaths
Daytime 36 13%
Nighttime 85 31%

*Rankings are based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from December 30, 2017, to January 1, 2018. We rounded percentages to the nearest whole number.

Purchasing the right car insurance

New Year’s weekend is about celebrating a fresh start and resolving to ease life’s burdens. And while you can’t prevent accidents, you can prepare for when they occur.

When planning for 2019, compare your car insurance options to find the strongest and cheapest protection you’re eligible for.

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager
203-818-2928
allan.givens@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator
347-677-4931
nicole.gallina@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site