With 565 roadway deaths predicted this Independence Day holiday, the National Safety Council is reminding drivers the goal is zero deaths.
Motor vehicle incidents are the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), injuries in motor vehicle incidents that required medical care totaled 4.6 million in 2017, and total motor vehicle injury costs were estimated at $433.8 billion. Costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor-vehicle property damage and employer costs.
NSC estimates 565 people may be killed on the road during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, and an additional 64,500 may be seriously injured in crashes.
The organizations is urging motorists to be particularly vigilant about impaired drivers, and to designate sober drivers themselves. Analysis of the latest available data shows during the 2017 Independence Day period, 39 percent of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, the highest percentage among all the major holidays.
The four-day holiday period this year will begin at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 3, and will end at 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday, July 7. It comes on the heels of National Safety Month, observed annually in June to help educate about preventable deaths such as motor vehicle crashes, which are the second leading cause of unintentional fatalities in the United States.
“As we celebrate one of our country’s most cherished holidays, we have to keep safety in mind,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Sober and attentive driving could be the difference between watching fireworks and watching ambulance lights.”
Drivers can take measures to protect themselves. Tips to ensure a safer holiday weekend include:
- Drive defensively. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
- Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from opioids. Visit nsc.org/rxpainkillers to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
- Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.
- Look before you lock a vehicle to ensure no child is left in the back seat. At least 11 kids have died in hot cars this year. Visit nsc.org/hotcars to take a free, 15-minute training on preventing pediatric vehicular heatstroke.
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information.
- Fix recalls immediately. Before you hit the road, visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.