Increased motor vehicle fatalities Tuesday through Thursday during the US Thanksgiving holiday (1980–2018)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Traffic crashes remain a leading cause of death in the United States; holidays are known to have increased travel and traffic fatalities. Our purpose was to determine which days during Thanksgiving had the highest crash fatality risk compared to non-holiday periods. Using time series and binomial approximations, we analyzed Fatality Analysis Reporting System data (1980–2018) with a Monday-Sunday holiday and matching comparisons the weeks before and after. Fatalities included 31,263 during the holiday, 30,361 the previous week, and 29,399 the following week. Deadliest days during the holiday were Saturday (16.7% of fatalities) and Wednesday (16.0%), but odds of a traffic fatality (vs. non-holiday) were highest Wednesday [odds ratio (OR) 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29–1.40], Thanksgiving (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.13–1.23), and Tuesday (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.06–1.17). The 35 excess holiday fatalities per year may have limited practical significance considering increased holiday travel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101245
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume20
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Binomial approximation
  • Fatality
  • Fatality analysis reporting system (FARS)
  • Motor vehicle crash
  • Thanksgiving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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