As the holidays are fast approaching, Tennessee residents are solidifying plans with family and friends for a myriad of celebrations. From menu planning to special activities, there are several things to be looking forward to at this time of year. However, the holiday season spanning between Thanksgiving and New Year’s also brings other things requiring attention. Among these is an increase in the number of drunk driving accidents and fatalities compared to the rest of the year.

The National Safety Council lists Thanksgiving as the third most dangerous drinking and driving holiday in the United States. New Year’s and Christmas rank as the fifth and sixth, respectively. USA Today adds that when weekends are included in the primary holiday dates, the risks can be even greater. Such will be the case with Christmas and New Year in 2015. A full and long weekend is always part of Thanksgiving every year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records from December 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 illustrate how much more serious impaired driving is over holiday dates. Over these five years, 28 people died per day on the non-holiday dates in drunk driving accidents. Over the five years’ of dates associated with Christmas, 45 people died per day in accidents involving alcohol. The number of daily fatalities on the dates associated with New Year’s was even greater as 54.

Understanding this risk ahead of time can give Tennessee residents an opportunity to make appropriate plans. Having designated drivers can be some help but minimizing time on the road when more impaired drivers are likely to be out may also be wise.