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Car accidents common over holiday weekend

The 4th of July may be known for fireworks, picnics and outdoor fun, but things can quickly turn tragic on the 4th of July as well, as it is one of the most deadly holidays of the year on U.S. roadways.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvania residents will be traveling by vehicle over the three day 4th of July holiday weekend. This is 35% more travelers than during Memorial Day weekend.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 150 people die in traffic accidents on July 4, more than any other day of the year. July 3 follows with nearly as many traffic fatalities.

According to a study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), during the 4th of July holiday period over the five years from 2008 to 2012, 765 people lost their lives in crashes with drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. These fatalities accounted for 40% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over that same period of time.

NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts 2012 reported that there were 179 people killed in crashes on the 4th of July in 2012. 44% of those accidents involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

In Pennsylvania, according to the state’s 2013 Crash Facts and Statistics Report, over the 3-day 4th of July holiday in 2013, there were 1155 crashes. The report states that this was not part of a holiday weekend as the 4th of July fell on a Thursday last year. When the holiday falls on the weekend, crash numbers are even higher. Pennsylvania State Police reported that between July 3 and July 7, 2013, they arrested 411 people for driving under the influence.

Alcohol is a significant factor in holiday driving fatalities. The increase of people on the roadways over a summer holiday period, coupled with a higher percentage driving under the influence of alcohol, makes it a dangerous time to be driving. According to the IIHS, teenage drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in a car wreck than older drivers. Teen drivers are involved in four times as many crashes as those in other age groups, and car accidents are the leading cause of death for young drivers.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer Julia Munley offers the following tips to stay safe when driving this holiday weekend:

  • Don’t Drink and Drive! Plan ahead. If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver.
  • Always wear a seat belt. Make sure every passenger in your vehicle is also wearing a seat belt before you begin driving.
  • Refrain from using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving. If you need to make or take a call, pull over in a safe spot.
  • Make sure children are properly fastened into safety seats.
  • Observe speed limits.
  • Stay alert and distraction free.
  • Drive cautiously and be aware of the vehicles driving around you. Watch for signs of drunk drivers: making wide turns; weaving, swerving or drifting in the opposite lanes; driving at a slow speed; stopping without cause or braking erratically or responding slowly to traffic signals.

If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement. You could be saving a life.

The family of attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys encourages you to drive safe and smart this 4th of July holiday. If you have been injured in an accident, we can help. Visit

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Posted in Car Accidents.


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