The Independence Day holiday weekend begins on 6 p.m. ET Friday, June 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, July 4. During this period, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 582 people will lose their lives in traffic accidents.
The estimate is the highest the NSC has released since 2006. The organization says an additional 66,900 people possibly could be injured.
"The Council issues these estimates to empower drivers to make safe decisions behind the wheel, because the only acceptable number of deaths is zero,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO in a statement. “We hope Americans will spend their holiday safely watching fireworks and celebrating with families rather than sitting in an emergency room."
According to the NSC’s State of Safety report, the number of preventable deaths on the roads, in homes, communities and the workplace are at an all-time high.
The organization recommends the following tips to ensure a safer holiday weekend:
- Wear a seat belt on every trip. About 226 people are likely to survive crashes during the holiday because they buckled up.
- Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink.
- 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.
- Check your vehicle for recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
Additional information about the NSC motor vehicle fatality estimates for the July 4 holiday period can be found here.