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Alcohol and heavy traffic combine to make July 4th deadly

Higher gasoline prices and heavy traffic congestion will not be enough to keep motorists in New York and around the country at home during the upcoming July 4th celebrations according to the American Automobile Association. The nonprofit advocacy group expects 39.7 million Americans to make road trips of 50 miles or more to celebrate the nation's birthday, which would make this year's Independence Day celebrations the busiest in decades for travelers.

First responders will likely be working overtime as the nation celebrates. Accidents are more likely when traffic is heavy, and this holiday period is especially dangerous for road users because alcohol is consumed at most Independence Day barbecues, picnics and gatherings. Americans buy more alcohol to celebrate the Fourth of July than they do preparing for New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day, and this is the main reason why America's birthday has become the most dangerous day to drive. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 40 percent of all road users killed over the holiday between 2007 and 2011 lost their lives in drunk driving crashes.

Higher fuel costs generally lead to a slower summer travel season, but the AAA does not expect drivers to be put off by gas prices that are an average of 59 cents per gallon higher than they were just a year ago. If this year's Independence Day celebrations are as deadly as they have been in recent years, about 200 road users will lose their lives in motor vehicle crashess between July 3 and July 8.

Intoxicated drivers are often killed in the crashes they cause, and those who survive sometimes face serious criminal charges and the prospect of decades behind bars. However, that does not mean that accident victims are unable to pursue civil remedies. In these situations, attorneys may initiate lawsuits against an impaired driver's estate or insurance company.

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