With friends and family coming together to relax and celebrate, the number of travelers on our nation's and state's roads and highways peaks. Because of holiday parties and gatherings, more drivers are impaired by alcohol.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) expects that over Labor Day weekend 2015 there will be one drunk driving fatality every 34 minutes in the U.S. On average on non-holiday weekends there is one death every 51 minutes attributed to drunk driving. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that approximately 400 people will lose their lives in traffic accidents over a typical Labor Day weekend, 40 percent of these deaths will be caused by drunk drivers.
- The July 4, 2015 holiday weekend in Florida saw 2,633 holiday traffic accidents resulting in 1,153 injuries and 27 deaths, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department.
- During the Labor Day 2014 holiday period, the Florida Highway Patrol investigated 3,302 traffic crashes. In these crashes, 20 people died and 1,453 were injured.
The official start of the 2015 Labor Day Weekend is Friday, September 4, at 6 p.m. and runs through Labor Day ending at midnight. This is a 96-hour time span. Ninety-six hours when impaired or distracted drivers can be on our roadways.
There are many activities and events planned in Florida for the 2015 Labor Day Weekend which will greatly increase traffic flooding roadways all over Florida. Some examples are the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach, the Key West Brewfest, Miami South Beach Bike Week, and the Geckofest in Gulfport. Many other activities are planned in and around our state and counties. These events will draw crowds of out-of-town visitors as well as local traffic.
Highway safety is everyone’s concern and everyone’s responsibility. Here are a few suggestions from the Better Business Bureau in Atlanta, GA for action that can help make the upcoming Labor Day holiday safer for all:
- Make sure you are well rested before driving.
- Make sure everyone is properly buckled up. Seat belts prevent serious inquiries and deaths. Make sure children are in age-appropriate safety seats, and that they are properly secured.
- Do not tailgate, and remember to keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. Do not rely on mirrors when changing lanes. Make sure to turn around and check visually to make sure no cars are in your blind spot.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Do not text and drive. Distracted driving is becoming one of the major causes of accidents. When driving, pull over if you have to make a call, send a text or do anything that would take your full concentration off of your driving.
- Pay heed to emergency signals and traffic. When you see an emergency vehicle’s lights flashing, MOVE OVER and SLOW DOWN. It is the law.
- Establish and enforce a driver’s distraction-free zone, especially in cars equipped with electronic devices including cell phones, video games and global positioning systems.
- Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and for those extra stops every traveler has to make.
- Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather.
"Vehicle accidents happen even in the best of times, but with roads and highways filled with thousands of extra vehicles because of holiday events, the incidence of vehicle accidents rises. When planning to drive during this Labor Day weekend, be extra cautious, allow time to get safely to your destination, and do not drink and drive," said Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.