Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It first became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day frequently involves road trips, backyard get-togethers, and parties. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 390 people may die on U.S. roads this Labor Day holiday period. Did you know that car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile? Furthermore, alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes.
Recent NSC statistics show that alcohol-impaired fatalities (involving blood-alcohol content of 0.08 g/dL or higher) represented 29% of the total traffic fatalities. However, during the Labor Day period, that figure jumped to 38%.
NSC statistics also show that for every fatality there are 114 crashes that result in injuries serious enough that a medical professional is consulted. According to the NSC, “Based on the current medically consulted injury to death ratio of 114:1 and rounded to the nearest hundred, the estimate of nonfatal medically consulted injuries that will result from crashes during the holiday period is 44,400, with a 90% confidence interval of 37,300 to 52,600.”
Simply put, this predicted carnage could be greatly reduced by not drinking and driving and by using seat belts. The NSC’s message regarding seat belt usage is as unequivocal as its message on alcohol-impaired crashes. “Studies show seat belts, when used, are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front-seat passenger car occupants. An estimated 154 lives may be saved this Labor Day holiday period because passenger car occupants wear their safety belts. An additional 90 lives could be saved if everyone wears safety belts.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges a simple, five-point plan to enjoy a responsible, safe weekend:
- Plan a safe and sober ride home before drinking alcohol.
- Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if that person has been drinking.
- If you’re hosting a party, make sure everyone has a sober ride home.
- Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
- If you see a drunk driver, call 911.
Common sense, right? Unfortunately, as has been said many times before, “common sense is not so common.” Please help remind your family and friends of these simple tips. It is well known that alcohol clouds one’s judgment, and they may just need the assistance.
Have fun this weekend and stay safe, but know we are always here to help if you or a loved one are injured by the negligence of another.
This blog is written by Partner Mickey Smith.