Overnight Crash Raises the Question: What Time of Day Sees the Most Accidents?

As your Panama City car accident law firm, we know that automobile collisions can happen at any time of day and any day of the week. While reading a report of an early morning crash in Destin, we considered the particular dangers associated with travelling during different time periods. The late night/early morning hours may mean a higher rate of drivers under the influence of alcohol, highly fatigued drivers, and the lack of daylight. However, daytime hours can mean more traffic and more drivers multi-tasking as they deal with work, children, and other issues that pull their attention away from the road. So, the question is: What time of day sees the most car accidents? Is daytime or nighttime driving more dangerous?

Early Morning Collision Claims Two Lives in Destin

Morning headlines often include reports of overnight accidents, such as a crash that occurred at 3 A.M. on Tuesday April 23. Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the collision took place at the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and Danny Wuerffel Way. The accident involved a white Mazda, driven by 23-year-old Joseph Richard Tyrell III of Crestview, and a Chevrolet Blazer, driven by 42-year-old James Bennett of St. Petersburg. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. Bronson Coleman, a battalion chief with the Destin Fire Department, reported that both vehicles showed heavy front-end damage, and the Blazer came to rest on its side. Officials have not commented on the cause of the crash and have not said whether alcohol was a factor.

NHTSA Statistics on Car Accidents By Time of Day

In a report titled Traffic Safety Facts 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") examined traffic accidents ranging from minor fender-benders to fatal multi-car pile-ups. With more than 100 tables and figures, the report closely examines crash data to find trends and patterns. Looking at the time of day (Table 25), the highest number of fatal crashes per 3-hour period occurred from 6 to 9 P.M. (4,988) followed closely by 3 to 6 P.M. (4,944). For injury crashes, the highest number occurred from 3 to 6 P.M. (371,000) followed by noon to 3 P.M. (290,000). Notably, while there were more daytime crashes across the board, on both Saturday and Sunday the highest number of fatal accidents occurred in the midnight to 3 A.M. period (1,024 and 1,072 respectively). These two periods were also the overall deadliest three-hour spans for the year. Weekend injury crashes followed the overall injury crash trend were most prevalent between 3 and 6 P.M (47,000 on Saturday, 35,000 on Sunday).

Considering the Statistics and Representing the Victims

Although the report does not draw conclusions, the weekend shift suggests that behavior may be a more important factor in fatal crashes than the presence of daylight. Injury crashes are more common in the afternoon/early evening, time periods that personal experience suggests may correspond with the most traffic. Increased traffic may result in an increase in lower speed accidents that cause injury but do not result in fatalities.

No matter what time of day or day of week the accident happened, if someone else's negligence caused you injury or took the life of a loved one in the Panama City area, we can help. Call our Panama City injury law firm to arrange a free consultation with our experienced victim's advocate.

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