Memorial Day is coming up, and people around the country are looking forward to hitting the road and getting a little rest and relaxation. And this is especially true after a long and stressful year spent in the middle of a pandemic. Now that more and more people have been vaccinated, things are slowly getting back to normal.
So a three-day weekend in the middle of spring is a great time to get out into nature and enjoy the great outdoors, or go catch up with friends and family members you haven’t seen for far too long.
But it’s important to note that the increase in the number of people on the road for Memorial Day weekend, also means that the likelihood of being injured in a traffic accident also increases.
Every year the National Safety Council compares the number of accidents that fell on holidays, to the number of accidents that occurred on similar, but non-holiday periods of time, in order to determine if certain holidays are more dangerous than others.
For Memorial Day weekend, they compared 6 p.m. Friday to 11:50 p.m. on the following Monday, for the weeks prior to and immediately following Memorial Day weekend.
Based on Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from the years 1995 to 2019, the average number of traffic fatalities during the Memorial Day holiday is 14.1% high than the average for the comparison periods of all those years, at a statistically significant level of 0.05. Those are non-holiday comparisons.
Compared to other holiday periods, using the average fatality per day rate to make up for the different lengths of holiday periods, the NSC discovered that Memorial Day, along with the other summer holidays, Labor Day and Independence Day, have a higher average of traffic fatalities per day, than holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even New Year’s Eve, a holiday many assume would be the most deadly for motor vehicle accidents.
This analysis matches up with the results of another study conducted by AutoInsuance.org, that looked at the average number of fatal crashes for all of the holidays during the years 2016 thru 2018, and also discovered that the worst three holidays were Independence Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The NSC also determines estimates for the number of traffic accident fatalities that could be expected to occur on each holiday every year.
For their Memorial Day 2021 estimate, they’re predicting that as many as 415 fatalities may occur on U.S. roads this year during the holiday weekend. That is a terrible number of lives lost over just a three day period.
What’s more, the NHTSA is also running their Click It or Ticket campaign timed in order to coincide with the long holiday weekend, which means that law enforcement agencies around the country will step up their efforts to spot and ticket drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.
So if you and your family are traveling for the long weekend, we hope you have a great and safe time. Make sure you pay attention to the road, driver sober and buckle your seatbelt. You’ll improve the odds that you’ll get where you’re going safely, and possibly save yourself the cost of an expensive ticket. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
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