The National Safety Council estimates 462 people may lose their lives on U.S. roads during Independence Day weekend in preventable crashes. According to newly released estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. roads are the most dangerous they’ve been in 16 years. With Independence Day being one of the most risky driving holidays of the year, NSC urges not only drivers, but all road users, whether they’re biking, walking or otherwise mobile, to be safe.
“On a typical day, more than 100 people die on our roads, and that number is climbing,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president, roadway practice at NSC. “Please take safety personally and follow our safe driving tips to ensure you get to where you want to go as safely as possible. Your life and those you love may depend on it.”
The National Safety Council implores all drivers to adhere to the following safe driving tips this weekend:
- Buckle up: Lack of seat belt use is a top cause of fatalities in crashes. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
- Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Holidays are a cause for celebration, but alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgment and motor skills.
- Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit or below it if conditions dictate. Be sure to pay close attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
- Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free.
- Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
- Look before you lock: Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is still the leading cause of non-crash motor vehicle-related fatality for children. Since 1998, more than 900 children in the U.S. have died because of this completely preventable tragedy. Always check your back seat for children or animals when you reach your destination.
In addition to promoting safe driving behaviors among individuals, the National Safety Council recognizes the need for action to address the urgency of this national traffic safety crisis—because the onus of preventing deaths on our roads is not entirely on individual drivers.
NSC and its allies on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and across safety and advocacy groups understand the commitment to a Safe System approach is necessary because much of our current roadway system is built to maximize throughput, not safety. To that end, on Wednesday, June 29 at 10 a.m. ET at the National Press Club in Washington, NSC will unveil the executive summary of its new report, Mobility, Technology and Safety: The Next 20 Years. This event highlights the findings of the report, announces new, related initiatives from the National Safety Council, and calls on policymakers to take decisive action around the troubling trend of traffic fatalities. NSC will utilize the conclusions of this new report to identify, track, and advocate for priority actions for the federal government. To register to attend this event virtually, click here.
For more safety tips, visit nsc.org/saferoads. Review supplemental information about the Independence Day holiday fatality estimates, and additional motor vehicle data and research at injuryfacts.nsc.org.