NSC Urges Safe Driving for Memorial Day Weekend

Besides the estimated 407 traffic deaths, the council estimates 43,500 medically consulted injuries from motor vehicle collisions may occur during the period.

More than 400 people will die in traffic accidents during the Memorial Day holiday weekend that begins at 6 p.m. May 24, the National Safety Council has estimated. The council is urging drivers to use extra caution while traveling. The holiday weekend counting period ends at 11:59 p.m. May 27. Besides the estimated 407 traffic deaths, the council estimates 43,500 medically consulted injuries from motor vehicle collisions may occur during the period.

"NSC issues fatality estimates for major holiday periods to draw attention to the need for drivers to exercise safe driving practices, especially when a significant number of drivers are expected to be traveling on our roadways and highways," said Janet Froetscher, NSC's president and CEO.

The estimates are based on 2006-2011 data that show fatalities from Memorial Day holiday crashes average 12.86 percent of all fatalities in May. "Even so," according to NSC, "the estimated fatality total for 2013 is 7% less than the average actual number of fatalities that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods for which data are available. This is likely due in part to the struggling economy."

The council recommends that drivers:

  • Refrain from all cell phone use, both hands-free and handheld, behind the wheel.
  • Always remember to wear your seat belt and place children in age-appropriate safety seats.
  • Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed.
  • Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather.
  • Avoid driving while drowsy.
  • Don't drink and drive; even moderate consumption of alcohol impairs reaction time and driving judgment.

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