US: July 4 holiday might see spike in highway fatality rate image

With a massive overflow of motorists on the country’s roads for the July 4 Independence Day holiday predicted from various sources, no wonder that safety advocates also forecast the biggest tally of fatalities in almost a decade.

The National Safety Council has said this July 4 Independence Day holiday might bring the highest fatality rate in seven years, as highway deaths have seen an increase lately after years of steady decline. According to the NSC, up to 409 deaths could be registered on the roads during the prolonged weekend, with injuries reaching almost 50,000. The tally could be the highest for any Independence Day July 4th holiday since 2008. “Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family,” comments Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER.” Contributing factors can range from the fact that July 4 is falling on a Saturday, with traditional holiday travel spiking if it’s set during a weekend. A study of federal numbers showed that on average, the July 4 highway fatalities jump 37 percent above the average level for any day in July and increased traffic only means more deaths.

The traffic itself has been on the rise since America has been recuperating fully from the Great Recession of almost a decade ago. And roads have gradually become safer over the decades – yearly fatalities hit an all time high back in 1972 at 54,589 and then gradually fell to 32,719 in 2013.