The National Safety Council has issued its highest traffic fatality estimate for Labor Day Weekend since 2008.
The nonprofit estimates 438 people will be killed on U.S. roads over the period of about three days. Additionally, an estimated 50,300 people will suffer injuries serious enough to require medical attention.
This grim projection for Labor Day Weekend is part of a larger trend of increasing traffic fatalities, according to data released this week by the NSC, which has been issuing traffic fatality estimates since 1921.
The NSC’s preliminary figures for the first six months of this year include an estimated 19,100 traffic fatalities and 2.2 million injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Those fatalities reflect a:
- 9 percent increase compared with the same months of 2015.
- 18 percent increase compared with the same months of 2014.
This upward trend started in late 2014 “and shows no signs of decreasing,” according to the NSC.
The nonprofit’s president and chief executive, Deborah A.P. Hersman, says:
“Our complacency is killing us. One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”
The NSC cites a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates as key contributors to the rise in fatalities, noting that average gas prices and the number of miles driven have increased this year.
Leading up to the most recent period of holiday travel, Independence Day weekend, AAA predicted that nearly 43 million Americans would travel by various means but primarily on the road — the highest travel volume on record for Independence Day weekend.
AAA has yet to release traffic projections for Labor Day Weekend.
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