Deadliest cities to drive in over Labor Day weekend

California and Texas have the most road fatalities on one of the deadliest holidays for driving.

Labor Day marks the end of summer — and your last chance to wear white. But it also marks the second-worst weekend to be on the roads in the United States, averaging 419 deaths on the road each year. The weekend’s driving deaths peaked in 2005 with 463 fatal car deaths.

Labor Day’s deadly average comes in ahead of Fourth of July’s average of 410 fatal car deaths and Memorial Day weekend’s average of 413 fatal car deaths.

Finder.com analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data collected for Labor Day weekend in 2019 to find which cities and states are the most dangerous for driving over the holiday weekend. We also analyzed data over a span of 10 years to determine if driving deaths are going up, and which Labor Day weekend day is the deadliest to be on the road.

Which cities were deadliest for driving on Labor Day weekend?

Los Angeles, California and Prince George, Maryland tie for the deadliest cities for driving, each with seven fatal car deaths in 2019. Cook, Illinois follows as the third most dangerous city to drive in over the Labor weekend with six fatalities. They are closely followed by seven other cities, each with five or four deaths.

RankCityStateNumber of deaths
1 Los Angeles California 7
1 Prince George Maryland 7
3 Cook Illinois 6
4 Kern California 5
4 San Diego California 5
4 Suffolk New York 5
7 Alachua Florida 4
7 Jackson Missouri 4
7 Maricopa Arizona 4
7 Mecklenburg North Carolina 4

Which states were deadliest for Labor Day weekend?

California is the deadliest state to drive in during the Labor Day weekend at 49 deaths, followed by Texas at 34 deaths.

RankStateNumber of deaths
1 California 49
2 Texas 34
3 Florida 30
4 New York 22
5 North Carolina 18
6 Pennsylvania 17
7 Illinois 16
7 South Carolina 16
7 Virginia 16
10 Georgia 13

Which city had the most drunk-driving deaths?

Labor Day cocktails come with a consequence if you’re not drinking responsibly. Possibly the biggest consequence of over indulgence is the 37% of all Labor Day weekend road fatalities that are attributable to drunk drivers. Of all of the drunk driving fatalities in 2019, Suffolk, New York took No. 1 with three deaths due to drunk driving.

RankCityStateNumber of deaths
1 Suffolk New York 3
2 Baltimore Maryland 2
2 Fort Bend Texas 2
2 Jackson Missouri 2
2 Nassau New York 2
2 Onondaga New York 2
2 Plumas California 2
2 Prince William Virginia 2
2 Pulaski Arkansas 2
2 Riverside California 2

Which state had the most drunk-driving deaths?

When it comes to drunk drivers, California tops the list at 15 alcohol-related road fatalities in 2019. New York follows with 11 alcohol related deaths over the holiday weekend, followed closely by Texas with 10 alcohol related road fatalities. These three states alone made up 22% of drunk driving deaths for Labor Day weekend in 2019.

All other states rounding out the top eight are southern states, with six or four drunk driving deaths. With one exception, northern state Michigan makes the list with four deaths.

RankStateNumber of deaths
1 California 15
2 New York 11
3 Texas 10
4 Florida 8
4 Virginia 8
6 Louisiana 5
6 Missouri 5
8 Alabama 4
8 Arizona 4
8 Georgia 4

How does Labor Day driving compare to a typical weekend?

More fatal accidents due to distracted driving happen over Labor Day weekend. According to our analysis of NHTSA data, there are an average of 34.2 fatal accidents due to distracted driving on Labor day over the past 10 years, compared to 29.0 distracted driving fatal accidents on other weekends. That means there is an 18% increase of fatal distracted driving during Labor Day weekend.

What time of day was deadliest for driving on Labor Day weekend?

If you’re driving over Labor Day weekend, you might want to do so earlier in the day. Only 18% of fatal accidents occur between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon. Compare that time to driving at night (between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.) which accounts for 35% of road deaths and afternoon to evening (between noon and 8 p.m.) which accounts for 46% of road deaths in 2019.

Time of dayDeaths% of total deaths
Morning 83 18.4%
Afternoon/evening 159 35.3%
Night 209 46.3%

How many of these deaths were alcohol-related?

It may not surprise you that 45% of deaths occurring at night are related to drunk-driving. Drunk-driving deaths are three times more likely to occur between the hours of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. than in the morning.

Time of dayDeaths% of total deaths
Morning 31 37.3%
Afternoon/evening 41 25.8%
Night 94 45.0%

Labor Day driving fatalities over 10 years

Road fatalities for this holiday weekend over the past 10 years have mostly increased, albeit slightly. And four out of the past five years hold the top five ranks for the most road fatalities on Thanksgiving day.

Rank (weekend)YearLabor Day weekend road deathsLabor Day road deaths
6 2010 406 105
10 2011 382 99
8 2012 394 96
5 2013 424 93
7 2014 403 104
1 2015 463 106
4 2016 438 110
9 2017 383 87
3 2018 448 139
2 2019 451 121

Which Labor Day weekend day is the deadliest?

Over the span of 10 years, Saturday proves to be the most deadly day to be on the road over the holiday weekend with 1,345 road fatalities. That’s 27% more than on actual Labor Day Monday which has 1,060 road fatalities.

RankDayTotal holiday weekend road death over 10 years
1 Saturday 1,345
2 Sunday 1,231
3 Monday 1,060

Why you need the right car insurance

If you’re hitting the road around Labor Day on two or more wheels, make sure you’re protected with auto insurance. A policy can’t stop something bad from happening, but it can protect you financially after an accident. To find the right policy that fits your driving habits and history, compare your car insurance options.

Methodology

To determine the deadliest cities and states for driving on Labor Day weekend, we used Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). We looked at their “Accident” data file for 2019 in order to determine the number of accidents that occurred on each road in 2019. To analyze Labor weekend driving fatalities over time, we pulled data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the years between 2010 and 2019.

Labor Day weekend is defined by the NHTSA as starting from 6:00 PM on the Friday before Labor Day and ending at 5:59 AM on the Tuesday after Labor Day. For 2019, Labor Day weekend was defined as 6:00 PM on Friday, August 30, 2019 to 5:59 AM on Tuesday, September 4, 2019.

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