The National Safety Council (NSC) says an estimated 44,000 serious injuries will occur on U.S. roadways during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period, which begins on the evening of Friday, Sept. 4, and ends at the end of Monday, Sept. 7.
The NSC also estimated that 390 deaths will occur during this period, according to the Council. Despite a nationwide pandemic, the estimate is consistent with the Council’s last few years of estimates for the three-day Labor Day holiday period, indicating that people are expected to travel despite the pandemic.
The pandemic has had an indirect effect on roadway safety: Although the total number of deaths has fallen year over year in the first five months of 2020, the death rate skyrocketed, said the NSC. The rate of death on the roads was 23% higher in May 2020 compared to the same month last year, meaning more people are losing their lives for every mile driven.
“Travel during holiday weekends always is risky, and this year our roads haven’t been safe even when traffic has been light,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO. “We hope drivers take these figures as a reminder to slow down, pay attention and drive like their lives depend on it, because they do."
Alcohol often is a major factor in fatal crashes during holiday weekends, including Labor Day. In 2018 – the most recent year for data – 38% of fatal crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle rider.