Driving Impaired Cannot Be an Option This Memorial Day

The unofficial start to summer 2023 is a deadly holiday weekend, with nearly 470 people estimated to die on U.S. roads.

May 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For many, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer: a season full of friends, family and travel. Many will choose to travel by car to visit and celebrate with loved ones, but tragically, too many will not make it home safely. The National Safety Council estimates nearly 470 people in America will die in preventable traffic crashes from 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 29.

“Car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major mode of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile,” warns Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “The reasons for this, particularly over a holiday weekend such as Memorial Day, are impairment from alcohol and/or another substance such as cannabis, as well as distraction and speed. For the safety and wellbeing of yourself, and the people around you, designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation, drive distraction-free and slow down.”

According to NSC estimates, motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. topped 46,000 for a second consecutive year in 2022, and compared to 2019, the mileage death rate last year increased nearly 22%, indicating a strong need for change. All roadway users – whether driving, walking, biking or scooting – must uphold safe practices to prevent roadway deaths. Employers, policymakers, community leaders and individuals must come together across public and private sectors to prioritize safer roads, safer speeds, safer vehicles, safer people and better post-crash care as part of the holistic Safe System approach to save lives on the road to zero traffic fatalities in the U.S.

Review supplemental information about the Memorial Day holiday fatality estimates and additional motor vehicle data and research at injuryfacts.nsc.org.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for nearly 110 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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