Traffic fatalities spike during spring break
Sure, spring break can be a lot of fun, but new research from the University of Miami shines a light on one of its darker sides--it also can be deadly. A recent study found that car crash fatalities at spring break hot spots are significantly higher between late February and early April.
The study, published in the journal Economic Inquiry, analyzed fatal crashes from 14 popular spring break destinations in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. The researchers determined that the weekly automobile death toll was 9.1 percent higher in the 14 spring break counties during spring break than during other weeks in the year. That translates to 16 more car fatalities per year in all 14 counties studied. Fatalities involving drivers under 25 were much higher, as well as fatalities involving out-of-state drivers.
Although previous studies have linked increased alcohol consumption during spring break to increased traffic fatalities, this study did not find a significantly greater number of accidents involving alcohol. Nor did the researchers find a significant increase in car crash fatalities in non-spring break counties located in the same states, suggesting that spring break itself is a key factor.
The findings indicate that it's more dangerous to drive in these locations during the spring break months both for travelers and locals. The researchers hope their findings will help encourage spring breakers to avoid driving as much as possible. during their stays. They also recommended that spring break communities introduce programs that will encourage this, such as allowing visitors with a valid college I.D. to be eligible for public transit rides or ride share program coupons that could be obtained from their colleges or universities.