Holiday Traffic Risks Peak on Thanksgiving Eve and Day


A new study of 200 communities over the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend showed there were almost 50,000 red-light violations and 200,000 speed violations.

A new study by Verra Mobility Corporation, a leader in smart mobility technology solutions, highlighted a concerning trend in traffic safety during the Thanksgiving holiday period. According to its proprietary U.S. traffic safety systems, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day are the peak times for red-light and speeding violations, posing significant risks for drivers and pedestrians.

The study, which analyzed data from nearly 200 communities, found almost 50,000 red-light violations and 200,000 speed violations during the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend, from Wednesday through Sunday. This period is estimated to be the deadliest Thanksgiving since 2007, per the National Safety Council. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's data supports this claim, showing more than 570 traffic fatalities during this five-day period in 2020 and 2021, marking a more than 20% increase from 2019.

"Drivers need to be particularly alert on Wednesday and Thursday during Thanksgiving weekend," said Jon Baldwin, executive vice president of government solutions at Verra Mobility. "Speeding is a factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities; nobody wants to be a statistic during the holidays."

The data also revealed a pattern in the timing of these violations. Both speed and red-light infractions were most frequent in the afternoon hours, from 1-5 p.m., across 2020, 2021 and 2022. This consistency in data allows for reliable predictions for future Thanksgiving holiday traffic patterns.

Further analysis showed in 2022, Thanksgiving Day itself had the highest number of speed citations, exceeding 45,000. This was closely followed by Saturday and then Black Friday. The afternoon hours were again the peak time for these violations, mirroring the red-light data trend.

Verra Mobility released this data not only to bring awareness to distracted and dangerous driving behaviors but also to encourage responsible driving.

"We all want to get to our holiday destinations safely to celebrate with family and friends," Baldwin said. "By prioritizing safety and responsible driving, we can contribute to safer roads for everyone."

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