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NSC Offers Lifesaving Driving Tips Ahead of Labor Day Weekend

The Labor Day holiday period runs Friday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 5.

August 29, 2022

WASHINGTON – The National Safety Council estimates more than 450 people may die this Labor Day weekend in preventable crashes, a decrease of 2% compared to the same holiday period last year. This year’s estimate reflects the national decrease in motor vehicle fatalities experienced through the first six months of 2022, but the figures are no cause for celebration. Historically, the second half of the year is more deadly than the first, and analysis shows from 2018 to 2020, deaths on U.S. roads over Labor Day weekend made up more than 12% of all traffic fatalities occurring in September each year.

“With schools and workplaces closed for the holiday weekend, many families drive, bike, skate, scoot or walk over Labor Day,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “Mobility systems across the country, however, were built for speed and the efficient movement of vehicles, not the safe movement of people. Knowing that, extra precaution must be taken so everyone who leaves home has the best chances of returning safely.”

NSC urges all drivers to share the road responsibly by following these safety tips during this Labor Day holiday weekend—and always:

  • Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free.
  • Buckle up: Lack of seat belt use is a top cause of fatalities in crashes. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
  • Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Holidays are a cause for celebration, but alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgment and motor skills.
  • Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit or below it if conditions dictate. Be sure to pay close attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
  • Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive. 
  • Look before you lock: Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is still the leading cause of non-crash motor vehicle-related fatality for children. In 2022 alone, 17 children in the U.S. are reported to have died because of this completely preventable tragedy. Always check your back seat for children or animals when you reach your destination.
  • Demand safer roads: Join the Road to Zero Coalition to learn about the Safe System approach on road safety. Elements include rumble strips, bicycle lanes, clearly marked crosswalks, roundabouts and much more.

To create communities where all road users can be safe any day, it is important to be mindful of how American traffic safety efforts today inform the mobility systems of tomorrow. A recent report commissioned by NSC entitled, Mobility, Technology and Safety: The Next 20 Years, explores the potential evolution of transportation over the next two decades and its implications for mobility safety. To move the needle on safety, it is evident what must be done across sectors—doubling down on proven countermeasures and interventions, supporting the adoption and implementation of life-saving technology and prioritizing safety through a Safe System approach. NSC is committed to leveraging this three-pillar approach with innovative solutions and new partnerships to get America to zero traffic deaths. 

For more safety tips, visit nsc.org/saferoads. Review supplemental information about the Labor 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 more than 100 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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