As Labor Day weekend approaches, the National Safety Council (NSC) is reminding Americans about the dangers of drunk driving.
The organization is cautioning drivers to designate a sober driver to prevent becoming one of the estimated 398 deaths and 45,300 serious injuries that will happen during the upcoming holiday weekend.
“Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and many families will be traveling for those last-minute vacations,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO, in a statement. “We want that last hurrah to be fun, not fatal. When you are on the roads, be alert, drive defensively and keep one another safe.”
The Labor Day holiday begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2.
An overall national trend shows traffic fatalities are down 3% overall in the first six months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. The Labor Day weekend estimate is the lowest the NSC has announced since 2015.
Alcohol continues to be one of the major contributors to fatal roadway accidents during holiday weekend, with 36% of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle rider.
NSC recommends those visiting family and friends and travel for Labor Day take action in the following ways:
- 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 cannabis and opioids; visit nsc.org/rxpainkillers to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis;
- Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits; visit nsc.org/DriveitHOME for resources;
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them; visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information;
- Fix recalls immediately; visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall;
- Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways; the NSC State of Safety report shows which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws; and
- Get involved in the Road to Zero Coalition, a group of more than 900 organizations across the country focused on eliminating roadway deaths by 2050; visit nsc.org/roadtozero to join.
Additional traffic fatality information can be found on the NSC's website.