Motor vehicle deaths in 2012 were at their lowest level in February and at their highest in July

NSC Estimates More Than 400 Road Fatalities on Memorial Day Weekend

NSC releases annual holiday roadway fatality estimates.

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is a deadly one on the road.

The National Safety Council has released estimates indicating that 402 fatalities are expected during the holiday period, which which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 25, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 28.

“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not a deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO, in a statement. “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.”

This is the second consecutive year the organization has forecast more than 400 roadway deaths. The NSC also indicates 45,800 people may be seriously injured on the roads this weekend.

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, the NSC states.

The NSC's recommendations 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. 
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from prescription opioids.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. 
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. 
  • Fix recalls immediately. 
  • 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 understand how safety professionals are addressing motor vehicle fatalities.

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

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