Itasca, IL – National Safety Council calculations indicate 582 people may be killed on the roads during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, and an additional 66,900 may be seriously injured in crashes.[i] It is the highest estimate the Council has issued since 2006 for a four-day July 4 holiday period, which are relatively rare. The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday, June 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, July 4.
"The Council issues these estimates to empower drivers to make safe decisions behind the wheel, because the only acceptable number of deaths is zero," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "We hope Americans will spend their holiday safely watching fireworks and celebrating with families rather than sitting in an emergency room."
Preventable deaths have reached an all-time high, according to the National Safety Council State of Safety report. These fatalities – occurring on the road, in homes and communities and in the workplace – eclipsed 146,000 in 2015, prompting the Council to call for state actions that are proven to reduce residents' risks.
Drivers can take measures to protect themselves, too. Tips to ensure a safer holiday weekend include:
- Wear a seat belt on every trip. About 226 people are likely to survive crashes during the holiday because they buckled up.
- Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink.
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free.
- Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver's fatal crash risk 44 percent.[ii]
- Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them. MyCarDoesWhat can help drivers understand the ins and outs of new technology features.
- Check your vehicle for recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
Supplemental information about the NSC motor vehicle fatality estimates for the July 4 holiday period can be found here.
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.
[i] The National Safety Council defines "serious injuries" as those requiring medical attention.
[ii] According to Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health