The National Safety Council predicts that there will be a more than 6% increase in roadway fatalities during the Fourth of July weekend compared to a year ago with 565 deaths over the four days. There were 529 actual fatalities for the same period in 2017.
Some 64,500 people are expected to be seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions during the holiday.
The four-day holiday period this year begins at 6 p.m. East Coast time on Wednesday, July 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 7.
While the number of fatalities for the holiday period spiked in 2000, and climbed to 683 lost lives, the council says fewer deaths is not enough. It's aiming for zero fatalities.
Drivers should be particularly vigilant about impaired motorists on the nation's highways and byways. Analysis of the latest available data shows during the 2017 Independence Day period, 39% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver — the highest percentage among the major holidays.
Fleet drivers should be reminded to drive defensively, buckle up, avoid distractions, and get plenty of rest prior to the four-day holiday stretch.
In a ValuePenguin study that assessed fatality data between 2011 and 2015, the holiday ranked third among holidays with the most roadway fatalities, just behind Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends.