NSC Predicts 173 Independence Day Period Traffic Deaths

That would be a low total in historical terms. The council's predictions have been very accurate in past years.

The National Safety Council estimates 173 traffic deaths and 17,300 non-fatal medically consulted injuries will occur during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, which NSC defines as 6 p.m. July 3 to 11:59 p.m. July 4. The fatality total, if accurate, would match the lowest total for an Independence Day holiday period during the past 16 years -– there were 173 such deaths in 2001, according to a chart in the estimate paper prepared by NSC's Statistics Department.

By comparison, since 1994, Independence Day period traffic deaths have ranged from that low of 173 in 2001 to a high of 683 in 2000. Only twice, in 2005 and 2006, were the actual deaths obtained from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data outside a 90 percent confidence interval of NSC's estimate.

NSC offers the following tips for staying safe while driving. Traffic increases during the summer months, so drivers should be especially alert.

  • Refrain from using your cell phone while driving.
  • Put your cell phone on silent or in the glove box to avoid temptation.
  • Safely pull over and put the vehicle in park to take or make a call.
  • Always wear a seat belt -– every trip, every time.
  • Make sure every passenger is wearing his or her seat belt before you begin your drive.
  • Children should sit in the back and use the proper child safety seat or booster seat.
  • Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle, especially during hot weather.
  • If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver -- NHTSA has launched its Fourth of July Impaired Driving Prevention Campaign.
  • If there is a young driver in your family, strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy with alcohol -- all states have a 21-year-old drinking age law
  • Never get in the car with an intoxicated driver.
  • Avoid aggressive driving by keeping your emotions in check and focusing on your own driving.
  • Don't tailgate or flash your lights at another driver.
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