ITASCA, IL — The National Safety Council estimates 395 people will be killed and another 47,800 will be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. eastern Friday, Sept. 4 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. The three-day period falls in the midst of what could be the most deadly year on U.S. roads since 2007. The National Safety Council estimates overall traffic deaths are up 14 percent through the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Serious injuries are up 30 percent.
“Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer as families celebrate a last holiday before they fall back into a regular school and work routine,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “But save the reverie for the backyard BBQs. When you are on the roads, be alert and drive defensively - making smart decisions could be the difference between a relaxing long weekend and one spent in the emergency room.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 87 percent of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. The 13 percent of drivers and passengers who do not wear belts accounted for 44.7 percent of fatalities in 2014, according to NHTSA. An estimated 150 lives may be saved this Labor Day holiday because of seat belts. NSC recommends buckling up every trip, every time – even when traveling a short distance.
Other tips to ensure a safer Labor Day holiday include:
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
- Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. My Car Does What can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.
Supplemental traffic fatality estimates information can be found here.