Traffic deaths in the U.S. have increased every month for the past six months compared with the same months in 2014, and the National Safety Council (NSC) encourages all drivers to double down on safety to head off increased fatalities and injuries.
Unfortunately the Council expects the increases to continue this summer – already a period known as the 100 deadly days. The risky driving period begins each Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day, and the three-month stretch has claimed 48,579 lives since 2010.
“While the statistics point out a dangerous trend, we have the ability to influence outcomes through our choices and behavior,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
“Summer is typically a high-exposure period with lots of miles driven and several long holiday weekends. Take your responsibilities behind the wheel this summer seriously and ensure that you get to your destination safely.”
The Council believes the spike in fatal car crashes – an 11-percent increase during the past three months and an 8-percent overall increase in the past six – is due in part to an improving economy.
Lower gas prices and lower unemployment rates often lead to an increase in traffic because more people can afford to drive, and many travel long distances and take vacations.
Certain crash factors, such as speeding and alcohol, are more common during the summer, too. A yearly average of 2,781 deaths in June, July and August involve speeding, and 2,846 involve alcohol.
To help stay safe on the roads this summer, the Council recommends:
- Making sure every passenger buckles up every trip
- Designating an alcohol and drug-free driver or arranging alternate transportation
- Getting plenty of sleep and taking regular breaks to avoid fatigue on long trips
- Never using a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
- Staying engaged with your teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer.
- Learning about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. My Car Does What? can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.