NSC Estimates Nearly 400 Roadway Fatalities During Labor Day Weekend

NSC estimates 398 people may be killed during the three-day holiday; the goal is always zero.

August 27, 2019

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council urges Americans to drive defensively and designate a sober driver to help prevent an estimated 398 deaths and 45,300 serious injuries on U.S. roadways during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period. The Labor Day holiday begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2.

The estimate is the lowest the Council has issued for the three-day Labor Day holiday period since 2015, mirroring an overall national trend that shows fatalities are down 3% through the first six months of 2019 compared with the same time frame last year.

“Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and many families will be traveling for those last-minute vacations,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO. “We want that last hurrah to be fun, not fatal. When you are on the roads, be alert, drive defensively and keep one another safe.”

Alcohol often is a major factor in fatal crashes during holiday weekends, including Labor Day. In 2017 – the most recent year for data – 36% of fatal crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle rider.

Tips for safer Labor Day travel include:

  • Practice defensive driving, 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 cannabis and opioids; visit nsc.org/rxpainkillers to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits; visit nsc.org/DriveitHOME for resources
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them; visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information
  • Fix recalls immediately; visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall
  • Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways; the NSC State of Safety report shows which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws
  • Get involved in the Road to Zero Coalition, a group of more than 900 organizations across the country focused on eliminating roadway deaths by 2050; visit nsc.org/roadtozero to join

Supplemental traffic fatality estimates information can be found here.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council 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. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

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