NSC: 409 people could die in motor vehicle crashes over Memorial Day weekend

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The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 409 people may be killed and 47,000 seriously injured in motor vehicle-related crashes during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

The estimate is 12 percent higher than the average number of fatalities – 364 – that have occurred during the past six Memorial Day holiday periods for which data is available, according to a press release from NSC. (Fatality statistics for 2016 have not been finalized.)

“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not the start of another deadly driving season,” NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in the release. “Paying attention, slowing down and being courteous can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it to picnics, beaches and BBQs rather than emergency rooms.”

NSC offers these tips to help drivers stay safe on the road:

  • Make sure every passenger buckles up. NSC estimates that 159 lives could be saved over the Memorial Day weekend if people wear seat belts.
  • Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver, or arrange alternate transportation.
  • Avoid fatigue by getting plenty of sleep and taking regular breaks.
  • Never use a cellphone – even hands-free – behind the wheel.