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A Dangerous Weekend Predicted for North Carolina Road Travel

PHOTO: Drive safe, buckle up, and put down the phone. The National Safety Council expects this Fourth of July weekend to be one of the most dangerous holiday periods on the nation's highways in several years. Photo credit: Fidler Jan/Morguefile.
PHOTO: Drive safe, buckle up, and put down the phone. The National Safety Council expects this Fourth of July weekend to be one of the most dangerous holiday periods on the nation's highways in several years. Photo credit: Fidler Jan/Morguefile.
July 2, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and as some North Carolina families pack their cars for holiday travel, safety experts are reminding motorists to be extra-cautious on the roads.

The National Safety Council estimates 409 people will be killed, and more than 49,000 will be injured across the country in car accidents between this evening and Sunday night.

National Safety Council president and CEO Debbie Hersman says roadways are especially dangerous in the summer months, and there is increased risk during holiday weekends.

"We actually expect this Fourth of July to be the worst Fourth of July on record when it comes to fatalities, since 2008," she says. "A lot of people are driving. The economy is getting better, gas prices are lower than they were last summer. All of this contributes to increased risk."

Hersman says there were nearly 1,300 motor vehicle deaths in North Carolina in 2013. She adds that buses, trains and airlines typically have far lower fatality rates than passenger vehicles per passenger mile of travel.

The good news, according to Hersman, is advanced car features like anti-lock brakes, back-up cameras and electronic stability control are helping improve vehicle safety. But she says drivers need to be responsible and take precautions.

"As people are making their plans and packing for their summer vacation, make sure they remember when they are on the road to put down the phone and buckle up," she says. "And make sure they always have a sober driver."

According to the CDC, car accidents are the leading cause of death among people ages one to 54. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NC