Based on calculations by the National Safety Council, 582 people could be killed on the roads during the upcoming July Fourth holiday weekend, and nearly 67,000 could be seriously injured.
The estimates are the highest the council has issued since 2006 for a four-day Independence Day holiday period, which are relatively rare.
The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Eastern on Friday, June 30, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, July 4.
“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 Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We hope Americans will spend their holiday safely watching fireworks and celebrating with families rather than sitting in an emergency room.”
Drivers can take measures to protect themselves too. Tips to ensure a safer holiday weekend include:
- 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 cellphone 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. MyCarDoesWhat can help drivers understand the ins and outs of new technology features.
- Check your vehicle for recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.