National Safety Council Warns of Roadway Deaths Around Memorial Day Weekend

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ITASCA, Ill. — The National Safety Council estimates that 380 people may be killed on the roads during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday period.

It is the first time in four years that the Council is estimating less than 400 fatalities for the three-day holiday period—a nod to an overall leveling off of roadway deaths after the deadliest three-year period in a half a century. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring medical attention.

NSC estimates an additional 43,300 people may be seriously injured on the roads over the long weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 27.

“Although we are experiencing a plateau in fatality trends, we are still losing an unacceptable number of people on our roadways, and this holiday may be no different,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council. “If we pay attention, slow down and be courteous, we can increase our chances of making it to picnics, beaches and barbecues rather than emergency rooms.”

Summer tends to be a deadly period on the roads, and the warm-weather holidays are even deadlier. Historically, when compared to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the three summertime holidays—Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day—typically claim over 110 lives each day, the highest average per-day fatality rates.

Tips for a safer holiday weekend include:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions. Visit www.nsc.org for defensive driving tips.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from opioids. Visit www.StopEverydayKillers.org to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit www.DriveitHOME.org for resources.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Visit www.MyCarDoesWhat.org for information.
  • Make sure the car you are driving is safe and fix recalls immediately. Visit www.ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
  • Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways. Read the State of Safety report to find out which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws.
  • Join the Road to Zero coalition to get involved in addressing motor vehicle fatalities. Visit www.nsc.org/roadtozero to get involved.

Supplemental information about the Memorial Day holiday fatality estimates, and additional motor vehicle data and research, can be found at: www.injuryfacts.nsc.org

About the National Safety Council

The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact. http://www.nsc.org