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November 15, 2023

Holiday Car Accident Statistics in California

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

In California, the holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but unfortunately, it also sees an increase in car accidents. In this study we focused on California’s five biggest counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino. Our main focus for each was researching the total number of crashes injuries and crashes with alcohol involved. All data was compiled using TIMS Berkeley.

Total Number of Crashes with Alcohol Involved

crashes with alcohol involved in southern california

For each data point we looked at the Thanksgiving weekend and the weekends before and after to get a fair comparison. In this data set it’s clear there is a distinct drop off in crashes involving alcohol in Los Angeles County and San Diego County (California’s two biggest counties).

Total Number of Crashes Resulting in Fatalities

crashes involving fatalities

Here, data isn’t consistent for most counties except for Los Angeles County. It is sad to say that there is a clear spike in traffic related fatalities during the Thanksgiving weekend for California’s largest county.

Total Number of Fatalities with Alcohol Involved

crashes with alcohol and fatalities

While the data isn’t consistent for most counties when it comes to crashes with fatalities and alcohol involved, it’s clear that LA county roads are deadlier during this time of year.

Total Number of Injuries with Alcohol Involved


The patter continues to be clear with Los Angeles County. A clear spike in crashes with injuries and alcohol involved with a clear drop off the next weekend. San Diego slightly follows this pattern, but we’ll have more information below as to why that might be.

Total Number of Injured Victims

total injured victims

This is the first data set where the weren’t any clear increases in any county we looked at. To clear this up we invite you to take a look at the graph below.

Total Number of Crashes

total crashes in each county

In every county we looked at besides San Bernardino there is a clear patter of less crashes during this holiday period. This tells us that while there are less people driving in each county, yet injuries and fatalities increase or remain relatively the same. From what we can tell a lot of this has to do with alcohol and potentially other factors like distracted driving or speeding.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Los Angeles continues to be California’s deadliest county when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Even when there are less people driving and less overall crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend, injuries and fatalities tend to spike. We hope this study can shed some light on how our roads can look during the holiday season and potentially help people make better decisions before they start their cars.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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