FRIDAY, March 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- It's that time of year when college students flock to warm, sunny spots to celebrate spring break, but a new study shows the roads become a lot less safe once they arrive.
The overall death toll from car crashes in these popular destinations was 9 percent higher during spring break than at other times of the year. That translates into a total of 16 more traffic deaths per year in the 14 areas studied. Those areas included destinations in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
There was no significant increase in traffic deaths during spring break in areas of those same states that aren't considered spring break destinations.
"We found that between the last week of February and the first week of April, a significantly greater number of traffic fatalities occurred in spring break hot spots compared to other locations in the same states and at other times of the year," Michael French, a professor of health economics at the University of Miami, said in a university news release.
"The primary implication is that roadways are dangerous during the spring break period, not only for spring breakers, but also for the residents and other visitors of popular spring break destinations," he added.
Out-of-state drivers were involved in many more traffic deaths during spring break than in-state drivers, the researchers found. And drivers younger than 25 were much more likely to be involved in traffic deaths during spring break than older drivers.
The research team found no statistically significant differences between spring break traffic deaths involving drivers impaired by alcohol and those involving sober drivers.
The study was published recently in the journal Economic Inquiry.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about motor vehicle safety.