New Year’s Day is Connecticut’s worst day for DUI crashes

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We hear the warnings each year: New Year’s Day, particularly the early morning hours, after late-night parties and drinking, is a dangerous time to be on the road. We looked at 20 years of Connecticut crash data and found that’s indeed the case.

Jan. 1 is the worst day of the year for crashes with intoxicated drivers on Connecticut roadways; the first four hours of New Year’s Day are the worst four hours of the year, according to a TrendCT analysis of data from UConn’s Connecticut Crash Data Repository.

Of the 34,145 crash records from 1994 through 2015 with “driving under the influence” marked as a contributing factor, some 14,100 involved injuries and 1,765 involved at least one fatality.

Worst 10 days of the year for DUI crashes, 1994-2015
Five of the worst 10 days of the year for driving-under-the-influence crashes over a 20-year period were at the end of December and on New Year’s Day.
Day of year Crashes
Jan 01 167
Dec 23 159
Dec 21 141
Dec 22 135
Mar 17 134
Dec 24 128
Jul 04 126
Apr 05 125
Nov 22 124
Nov 23 122
UConn Connecticut Crash Data Repository

More of those intoxication-related crashes (167) occurred on Jan. 1 than any other day of the year — that’s an average of eight on that date each year. A typical day of the year had about 93 recorded crashes over the the two-decade period. Seven of the worst 10 days of the year for intoxication-related crashes were around the end-of-year holiday season.

There were 11 fatal DUI crashes spread out among the 20 New Year’s Days included in the data, making Jan. 1 the sixth-most deadly day of the year for Connecticut travelers.

This year has been a particularly deadly one on Connecticut roads, with 298 fatal crashes — with or without a driver under the influence — through Dec. 14, according to the crash repository. That contrasts with 271 fatal crashes by the same date in 2015; 241 in 2014; and 272 in 2013.

Out of all 8,760 hours in the year, the first four hours of Jan. 1, had the most intoxication-related crashes throughout the 20-year period we examined.

Top 10 hours of the year for DUI crashes, 1994-2015
The first four hours after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day were the top four hours for under-the-influence crashes in Connecticut, compared with all 8,760 hours of the year over a 20-year period.
Date/time crashes
Jan 01, 2 a.m. 34
Jan 01, 1 a.m. 28
Jan 01, 12 a.m. 23
Jan 01, 03 a.m. 22
Jul 03, 10 p.m. 21
May 19, 1 a.m. 21
Feb 17, 12 a.m. 20
UConn Connecticut Crash Data Repository

This year, New Year’s Eve is a Saturday and New Year’s Day is a Sunday — the two top days of the week for both DUI crashes and fatal DUI crashes.

Intoxication-related crashes are highest in general on weekends and at night.

Which day had the least DUI crashes over the same 20 year period? Jan. 2.

The source files and analysis code are available in our GitHub repository. We encourage you to check our work and use it to enhance your own analyses

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