Safety Council Estimates 488 People May Die In Labor Day Crashes

Aug. 22, 2003
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 488 people will die and 25,400 people may suffer non-fatal injuries in motor vehicle crashes during the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day weekend is historically a bad weekend for crashes. Over the last six years, there were 9.7 percent more deaths in crashes during Labor Day weekends than during the weekends immediately before and after Labor Day. This year's estimate covers Labor Day weekend from 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 1.

"Our two principal concerns for the motoring public are seat belts and drunk driving," said Alan McMillan, president of the National Safety Council. "As a society, we are making noteworthy strides in wearing seat belts, with nearly 75 percent of all Americans now wearing seat belts. However, more than 19,000 people who were not wearing seat belts died last year in motor vehicle crashes."

Approximately half of those people would have survived their crash had they been wearing seat belts, McMillan added. "The promising news," he said, "is that the lives of 380 people involved in crashes this Labor Day weekend will be saved because they will be wearing their seat belts."

Pointing to recent increases in drunk driving-related fatalities, McMillan said, "Nearly 18,000 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers last year. Nearly 40 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes involve alcohol. The message is very simple, 'If you drink, do not drive.'"

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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