Why up to 580 people ‘may die’ during Independence Day weekend

National Safety Council urges road users to exercise extra caution, offers six tips for a safer holiday period

Why up to 580 people ‘may die’ during Independence Day weekend

Independence Day is one of the most dangerous driving periods of the year – and the National Safety Council is urging road users to exercise extra caution this upcoming weekend.

With July 4, 2021, falling on a Sunday, the observed Monday extends the weekend, making it even more important to practice safe driving behaviors.

Mark Chung, NSC vice president, roadway practice, said: “According to our estimates, 400-580 people may die on U.S. roads during the holiday weekend. The National Safety Council calls on everyone planning to travel for the holiday to 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.”

Carlos Rosario, a Florida highway patrolman, is a survivor of a roadway crash. While on-the-job, he was on the shoulder of the highway when he was hit by a distracted driver. The driver hit Carlos and sent him flying, hitting the back of the cruiser and landing for his fellow state troopers to find.

Despite the life-threatening injuries Carlos sustained, he went on to recover fully and returned to work in less than two years after his accident. 

“I look around and everyone is on their phone,” Rosario said in a NSC press release. “This is really serious, and I am on fire to educate people to let them know to put it down. Don’t use your phone while you are driving!”

Six tips from the NSC for safer roads:

1. Drive distraction-free – Thousands have died in crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.

2. Slow down – speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Do not exceed the speed limit and be sure to pay attention for those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.

3. Designate a sober driver – or arrange alternative mode of transportation. Alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioid, cannabis and some over-the-counter medicines – can impair drivers by causing drowsiness, altering visual functions and affecting mental judgement and motor skills. 

4. Buckle up – seat belts are estimated to have saved 374,276 lives. Buckle up and make sure you have the appropriate car seats installed correctly for children.

5. Look before you lock – last year, 25 children died in hot cars. With temperatures rising across the country and the special occasion breaking routine, make it a priority to ensure you don’t leave the car without your child passengers.

6. Take an alternate path: For shorter trips, consider leaving the car at home and finding a safe biking or walking route to get when you’re headed.

For more tips, visit nsc.org/saferoads.