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National Safety Council Expects Highest Rise in July 4th Traffic Fatalities Since 2008

It’s no secret that summer, and July 4th specifically, is an especially dangerous time to be on the roadways. And this year looks to be no exception.

Today, the National Safety Council (NSC) released estimates predicting this July 4th holiday will have more roadway fatalities than any three-day holiday period since 2008.

According to a press release issued this afternoon, “NSC estimates indicate 466 people may be killed and an additional 53,600 may be seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes during the three-day Fourth of July holiday period.*”

This estimate comes as NSC and others in the traffic safety community predict an 8 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities in 2015 compared to 2014 – the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years.

“The number of people dying on our roadways is unacceptable,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The Council issues these estimates not to scare drivers but to empower them to make safe decisions behind the wheel. We hope Americans will spend their holiday safely watching fireworks and celebrating with family rather than sitting in an emergency room.”

The Council offered tips to drivers and passengers to ensure a safe 4th of July:

  • Making sure every passenger buckles up every trip. The Council estimates 181 lives could be saved this holiday by seat belts.
  • Designating an alcohol and drug-free driver or arranging alternate transportation. Since 2010, more than 37 percent of all fatal crashes during each Fourth of July holiday have involved alcohol.
  • Getting plenty of sleep and taking regular breaks to avoid fatigue on long trips
  • Never using a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
  • Staying engaged with your teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer.
  • Learning about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. MyCarDoesWhat? can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.

Find the full NSC report here.

*This year’s Independence Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 1, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 4.

Georgia joined our communications team in the summer of 2015 in her role as a media associate. A Wake Forest University graduate with a background in journalism and public relations, she enjoys working for such a positive and impactful organization.

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