Deadliest cities to drive in during New Year’s weekend

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

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

We analyzed the National Highway Safety Administration’s most recent data collected for New Year’s day, and the weekend surrounding the holiday, to find which cities are the most dangerous for driving over the holiday weekend. We also analyzed data for New Year’s day over a span of 10 years between 2009 and 2018, finding that driving fatalities are down to 110 total deaths in 2018, compared to last year’s 133 deaths.

Which cities were deadliest over New Year’s weekend?

The top three most deadly cities for New Year’s weekend were Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, all in California raking in 24 total deaths. Following close behind was Orlando, Florida and Dallas, Texas.

RankDeadliest CityStateNumber of deaths
1Los AngelesCalifornia10
2San DiegoCalifornia7

Which states were deadliest over New Year’s weekend?

California was the most deadly state to drive in over New Year’s weekend 2018, accounting for 13% of road fatalities or 46 deaths in 2018. Next is Florida at 11% (40 deaths) and Texas at 11% (39 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.

RankStateNumber of deaths% of total death

Which city had the most drunk-driving deaths?

Drinking-related New Year’s festivities come with a consequence, with 37% of all the holiday weekend’s road fatalities in 2018 attributable to drunk drivers. Of all the drunk driving fatalities over the holiday weekend, Orlando, Florida had the most drunk-driving deaths over the weekend with three total deaths.

RankCityStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths
2Fort LauderdaleFlorida2
2AlbuquerqueNew Mexico2

Which state had the most drunk-driving deaths?

When it comes to drunk drivers, Texas tops the list at 17 alcohol-related road fatalities over New Year’s weekend in 2018. Next is Florida with 16 deaths and California with 14 deaths.

RankStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths

Most dangerous time to be on the road over New Year’s weekend

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 42% of all fatalities (149 deaths) over the weekend occurring between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

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 noon to 8 pm, with 34% of fatalities and 120 deaths total.

Time of dayNumber of deaths% of total deaths

How many of these deaths were alcohol-related?

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 weekend.

Over the extended holiday in 2018, over half (56%) of driving fatalities that happened at night are attributable to drunk drivers.

Time of dayDrunk-driving deaths% of total deaths in the time frame

New Year’s day driving fatalities over 10 years

Road fatalities for this holiday over the past 10 years don’t hold a steady increase over the years. However, last year was the most dangerous day with 133 New Year’s day road deaths compared to this year’s 110 deaths. And, 2013 saw the least amount of road deaths with 76 driving fatalities.

RankYearNew Year’s day road deaths

Which New Year’s day is the deadliest?

Over the span of 10 years, New Year’s days that fall on a Sunday prove to be the most deadly day to be on the road with 125 road fatalities. Saturday is the second most dangerous driving day, with 117 road fatalities. Some days over the past 10 years have seen New Year’s twice, for those days we averaged the number of deaths for both years on that day to determine the deadliest days.

RankDayNew Year’s day road deaths

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 the upcoming New Year, compare your car insurance options to find the strongest and cheapest protection you’re eligible for.

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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Chelsea Wells-Barrett, PR, Media Relations and Communications


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