Nearly 400 Deaths May Occur on Roadways this Labor Day Weekend

The National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities and 45,000 injuries may occur this Labor Day Weekend as a result of impaired driving.

Despite a nationwide pandemic, Americans are still on the roads and traveling for the upcoming three day weekend. The National Safety Council estimates that 390 fatalities and 44,400 serious injuries will talk place on U.S. roadways during the Labor Day holiday period this year. 

The Council indicated that Americans are expected to travel even though the COVID-19 infections remain high. The NSC also said that the estimate was consistent with their predictions from the last few years for the three-day Labor Day holiday, which is from Friday, Sept. 4 through Monday, Sept. 7 this year.

"Traveling during holiday weekends always is risky, and this year is our roads haven't been safe even when traffic is light," said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC in a press release. "We hope drivers take these figures as a reminder to slow down, pay attention and drive like their lives depend on it, because they do."

Alcohol is often a major factor in fatal crashes during holiday weekends, including Labor Day. In 2018, 38 percent of fatal crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle rider. 

The NSC has provided tips to ensuring your safety while on the road. They include:

  • Practice safe 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. 
  • Stay engaged in teens' driving habits.
  • Learn more about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them.
  • Fix recalls immediately.

The pandemic has had an indirect effect on roadway safety: Although the total number of deaths has fallen year-over-year in the first five months of 2020, the death rate skyrocketed. The rate of death on the roads was 23% higher in May 2020 compared to the same month last year, meaning more people are losing their lives for every mile driven.

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