Labor Day Weekend 2018 is predicted to be a record-setter for Americans traveling, says the American Automobile Association (AAA), with as many as 35 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more for the Labor Day holiday weekend. With the summer of 2018 already one of the busiest summer travel seasons in history, it’s not a surprise.
But with all that travel there are other sobering statistics: an estimated 421 people may be killed, with over 48,000 seriously injured in car crashes over Labor Day Weekend. These figures come from the National Safety Council (NFC), with the NFC fatality estimate about 11% higher than the average of the past six years for Labor Day Weekend.
Vacations and overall nice weather are expected to increase the volume of vehicles on the roads. The overall economy has strengthened since last year, with the jobless rate at a 16 year low, and looser auto financing options mean more Americans have new cars they’re ready to take out on a road trip.
The NSC’s State of Safety report shows that as more Americans are hitting the road, preventable deaths have reached an all-time high. The report ranks states by rank in safety—with Florida ranked overall 40th, earning only a ‘D’ ranking.
No state earned an ‘A.’ According to the NSC, earning that ‘A’ would require tough laws—including texting bans, seat belt laws and sobriety checkpoints. Groups focused on lowering accidental vehicle deaths cite texting and cellphone use as primary preventable factors. There is even development of a ‘textalyzer’ that could be used on drivers’ phones.
In the context of what may wind up the most deadly Labor Day Weekend for travelers in history, it’s interesting to look at some of the findings from an Everquote poll of some 1,500 parents and 1,000 teens about their driving habits:
- Parents and teens alike agree that texting or cellphone use are the biggest distractions to teen drivers.
- 73% of parents believe that texting or cellphone use poses the biggest distraction for their teen driver.
- More than half of teens admit that cellphone use is the biggest driving distraction they face.
- 63% of parents admit to checking a mobile app, texting or taking a phone call while driving.
- Over half of the teens polled cited calls or texts from their own parents while they were behind the wheel.
- More than half of parents polled admit to speeding while their teen was in the car with them.
The NSC cites speed is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Overall lack of experience in young drivers is a primary factor cited by AAA in vehicular deaths. AAA cited more than 1600 people killed over the past five years in the ‘deadliest 100 days’ between the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day. Teen drivers are more than three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.
Fuel for thought.
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