Why July & August are Most Deadly for Car Accidents
Winter, with its icy roads and obscuring snow, may sound like the worst season for car accidents, but the dishonor actually goes to summer. July and August, in particular, are the months where you see the most deadly car accidents on average, year after year.
The “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has seen this trend for years now and has even dubbed the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” It emphasizes that teen drivers run the highest risk for a fatal crash.
In a study of fatal crash data spanning the years 1998 to 2014, the IIHS calculated that about 116 people died in motor vehicle accidents every day in July and August, making these the deadliest months. On the other hand, January and February were found to be the least deadly.
In a 2017 Status Report, the IIHS states that out of the 35,000 or so traffic fatalities reported every year, just over 10% occur in August and close to 9% in July. Contrast this with the 6% share that February claims.
Findings of the NSC
The National Safety Council, in a 2019 report, concurs with these findings. It states that August was the deadliest month that year with 3,351 accident-related fatalities. Interestingly, September came in second with 3,308 deaths, but July was third was 3,294 deaths. February, again, had the lowest share in fatalities.
Reasons for the Spike
- More Drivers on the Road
The number one reason why these summer months, despite the moderate weather, are so dangerous is that there are more drivers on the road. Whereas most people stay indoors when winter rears its head, summer is typically the time to go out on a long road trip, especially with the children, or to head out to bars or friends’ houses for parties. How this can raise crash risk is easy to see. More drivers means more traffic, which can cause anxiety and impatience. Vacationing drivers, being usually unfamiliar with their surroundings, may not drive as safely because they are more concerned with finding their destination.
- More Teen Drivers
School being out, you will also observe an increase in the number of teen drivers on the roads. And as teens lack experience behind the wheel and tend to act more impulsively, the danger this spells needs no further explanation.
- Independence Day
Most obvious of all, when you hear about more people partying, whether adults or teens, you can expect to see an uptick in drunk driving accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls July the worst month for drunk driving fatalities, and when we remember that one kicks off that month with Independence Day, it makes sense. According to NHTSA, there were 519 accident fatalities over that holiday period in 2019, 198 of which involved alcohol.
Drunk driving accidents go up not just during the Independence Day holiday period but also during Memorial Day and Labor Day, justifying the title of the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” It goes without saying that alcohol intoxication makes a driver negligent as he or she won’t pay attention to the road or follow traffic laws or speed limits. Such a driver would almost certainly be deemed at fault in an accident-related personal injury claim.
- More Construction
Here in California, but much more frequently in states that go through severe winters, you will find that an enormous number of construction projects are begun in summer. These projects may require the redirection and slowing down of traffic, which will disorient more than a few drivers in the process and make an accident much more likely. More often than that, the accident will involve the death of one of the construction workers.
- More Bicyclists and Pedestrians
Lastly, if summer brings out more drivers, it also brings out those who want to enjoy the outdoors at a more leisurely pace: hence, more bicyclists and pedestrians. And since neither bicyclists nor pedestrians travel with the kind of protection that a vehicle affords, it’s inevitable that they contribute to the uptick in accident deaths during this season.
- More Tire Blowouts
Blowout season: That’s what some accident specialists call the summer. The higher road temperatures can contribute to an overheating of your vehicle’s tires, particularly if they’re underinflated. So while an underinflated tire can blow out in any season, the heat of summer just makes it all the more likely.
One should not underestimate a blowout. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2020 saw a total of 664 deaths arising from tire-related crashes, including blowouts.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney After a Crash
If an auto accident has left you with injuries and you believe you’re not the one at fault, then the next step is to consult with a personal injury attorney about your rights as soon as you’re physically able. You’re entitled compensation under the liability laws of California, but an attorney would be better equipped to tell you what kind of compensation and how much.
In general, compensatory damages are either economic or non-economic. Economic damages compensate a victim for quantifiable losses, losses that can have an accurate dollar amount attached to them. These include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Vehicle repair costs
- Restitution for property damage
Medical expenses can be very wide-ranging in cases of severe injuries. Your claim could include things like travel expenses, the cost of medications, a wheelchair, and other medical equipment.
If injuries have left you unable to work at the same capacity as before, this can be figured into the amount you seek out from the defendant. The attorney will simply take into account what you can currently do, how much you’re being paid, and how that compares to how much your previous job paid.
As for non-economic damages, these are more subjective but not the less real for that. Well-known examples are:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Many survivors of car accidents suffer to some degree from post-traumatic stress disorder or develop a phobia against driving. Others may become incapable of showing the same level of affection and care that they used to for their spouse and family; this is what’s referred to as loss of consortium.
While those are the two forms of compensatory damages, you could seek out more, as there’s another category called punitive damages. This signifies the compensation that you can seek out not to recover a loss but to punish the defendant. To plaintiffs to be eligible for punitive damages, though, defendants must be clearly guilty of reckless or downright malicious acts. Simple negligence, such as distracted or drowsy driving, cannot merit such punishment.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Case?
Perhaps you weren’t injured in an accident, but rather, you’ve had to face the death of a loved one at the hands of another driver. Perhaps he or she was a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Maybe the deceased was the victim of an 18-wheeler incident. Whatever the situation, you’ll need to apply the state’s wrongful death laws to your case with the help of an attorney. There is a two-year statute of limitations to filing a wrongful death lawsuit (same goes for automobile-related personal injury claim.
With the attorney’s assistance, you may be able to seek the following damages from the negligent party:
- Pre-death medical expenses
- Income that the deceased would have earned if alive
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of support and consortium
Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Personalized Guidance
At the JT Legal Group, we understand how lonely and confused our clients can feel, especially after losing a loved one in a senseless accident. Don’t remain in that state or think that you can pursue a complex legal matter while still in that state. We can provide you with personal attention and guidance through every step.
That’s one of the benefits of hiring an attorney: All of this specialized knowledge of the law that an attorney has will be brought to bear on your case, and you’ll know exactly what you can seek in damages and what would be outside your case’s scope.
- Timely Results
Having a lawyer also speeds the process. A two-year statute of limitations may sound long, but it’s not, especially in the case of a personal injury claim, where the two years are counted from the date of injury. If your physical recovery is a gradual one, that takes up precious time.
Lastly, the other side will likely have legal representation, so you’ll need it, too, or risk being beaten from the start. But many times, the other side will acquiesce and settle with you if they see that you’re backed by a lawyer.
Contact Us Today
Call the JT Legal Group today for a free, confidential consultation. We’ll let you know what we could do for your accident liability case, and we’ll be up-front about our cost. There are no hidden fees or conditions to speak of. Moreover, our firm operates on a contingency fee basis: You don’t pay us unless your case is successful.