The 4th of July holiday is a much anticipated time of celebration—perhaps, even more, this year as we are in the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Independence Day will be one of the first celebrations, for many people, since social distancing and face mask mandates have been lifted.
As the pandemic restrictions are winding down, more people will likely be on the road this weekend, and—unfortunately—a higher number of people will be on the road after consuming alcohol.
Nearly 500 Traffic Accident Deaths Projected over Fourth of July Weekend
The National Safety Council (NSC) projects fatalities for holiday periods for six major holiday weekends each year, including Independence Day. This year, the non-profit organization estimates 482 people may die on U.S. roads from 6 p.m. Friday, July 2nd to 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 5th.
The NSC has emphasized that the uncertainty about traffic accident projections is heightened in the aftermath of the pandemic. However, the 90% confidence interval for the estimate of traffic deaths during this long holiday weekend is 396 to 577.
Alcohol and Fireworks Contribute to Accidents and Injuries
Because so many Independence Day celebrations involve alcohol consumption and fireworks, accidents involving alcohol and fireworks are a particular concern. Fireworks have the potential to cause burn injuries and even spark catastrophic vegetation fires which can cause devastating damage. In September 2020, a firework device from a Gender Reveal celebration sparked the El Dorado Fire in Los Angeles County, which burned more than 22,000 acres over two months and resulted in the death of a firefighter.
Below are 7 safety tips for an accident-free Fourth of July weekend:
- Look out for children in all activities: If you will be spending the 4th of July holiday with children, or hosting a celebration where children will be present, pay special attention to who is supervising them. Consider childrens’ safety in and around vehicles (including while backing up), near fireworks, and near deep bodies of water (i.e. lakes, ocean). If young children are present at your home, make sure a sober parent or guardian is designated to supervise the children at all times. Never assume someone else is watching. Fireworks should never be given to small children.
- Boat with caution: Before you hop in a boat, kayak, jetski, or raft, make sure everyone has a life jacket, no matter how strong of a swimmer they are. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use are some of the contributing factors of boating accidents. In 2019, there were 613 boating fatalities nationwide, including more than 100 which involved alcohol. Before you chart out onto the waters, take a minute to learn more about boat safety; click here.
- Avoid distractions on the road: Do not use your smartphone while driving. Do not allow passengers to distract you. If you are driving to a location you are not familiar with, take a few minutes to review your route before you start driving. If you will have to find a parking spot, determine parking locations ahead of time. Read our blog “Mobile Apps that Promote Safe Driving”, to discover smartphone applications that can help keep your eyes on the road.
- Do not drink and drive: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 38% of all car accident fatalities over the July 4th weekends from 2015 to 2019 involved a driver under the influence. No matter how short your drive is, do not drive after consuming alcohol. Make plans for a designated driver or take a Lyft or Uber. Remember, a sober driver is one who does not drink at all, not the one who’s had the least to drink. If you see a driver on the road who appears to be impaired, pull over to a safe spot and call 911.
- Don’t drive while drowsy: Many people travel long distances on holidays and try to stretch their holiday time as long as possible. Inevitably, this means families are getting on the highway to drive home after long hours spent at the lake, beach, or pool. In your trip planning, plan for rest, or plan to depart at a time when you are not exhausted. Remember, drowsy driving is hazard driving.
- Before you spark up, understand Firework Safety: Fireworks often result in injuries such as burns, lacerations, contusions, and foreign objects in the eyes. In 2021, some regions of the west are experiencing their worst drought conditions in more than a century this year. Fire industry professionals are urging caution when using fireworks in drought-prone areas (which includes all of California). For more information about “safe and sane fireworks” and which types of fireworks are illegal, visit the LA County 4th of July Safety Tips website.
- Hydrate and protect yourself from the sun: Every summer, people visit the hospital with dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or severe sunburns. The Red Cross recommends people use sunscreen before leaving home and reapply during the day. Pack protective clothing and hats if you will be outside for extended periods. Consider others in your group, including elderly adults and young children, who may need reminders about hydration and sun protection.
So many accidents and injuries are preventable. With planning, you can protect yourself and your loved ones, and ensure that your own actions do not negligently contribute to the injuries of others.
Speak with an Experienced Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident over the Fourth of July weekend due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal rights following your accident, consult with an Orange County accident attorney. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have extensive experience in handling a variety of personal injury claims—such as car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, motorcycle accidents, work-related injuries, wrongful deaths, sexual assault claims, truck accidents, and more.
With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego and Riverside, our accident lawyers represent personal injury victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.
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