NSC urges focused driving over Fourth of July holiday

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Itasca, IL — About 164 people may be killed in roadway crashes during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, and an additional 18,600 may be seriously injured, according to estimates from the National Safety Council.

(The one-day holiday period will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern July 3, and end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern July 4.)

That estimate is nearly 4 percent higher than the actual number of deaths – 157 – that occurred in 2012, the last time July 4 fell on a Wednesday.

NSC is urging motorists to be particularly vigilant about impaired drivers, as well as to designate sober drivers themselves. Data shows that 41 percent of the deaths that occurred during the 2016 Fourth of July holiday period involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

“By sharing these estimates, the National Safety Council hopes to highlight the importance of being a safe, sober and attentive driver so that everyone can safely celebrate this July 4 holiday,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC, said in a press release. “Independence Day should be about spending time with loved ones and watching fireworks, not about dealing with the tragic aftermath of a car crash.”

NSC provides tips to ensure a safe holiday weekend:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, and designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation.
  • Get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue.
  • Drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from prescription opioids.
  • Stay engaged with your teen drivers.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them.