The official kickoff to summer is just around the corner and many of us are ready to get out and celebrate the upcoming Memorial Day 2021 weekend. Holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and family. Unfortunately, they can also be a time where we see increased numbers of accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Please stay safe while driving and boating this Memorial Day by reviewing these statistics and tips:
Memorial Day Safety on the Roads
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 415 people may die on U.S. roads this Memorial Day holiday period. We see an uptick in travel around most holidays, with many choosing to take road trips. Car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation, based on fatalities per passenger mile, according to the NSC. Alcohol is a contributing factor to the increase in motor vehicle crashes that happen around the holidays.
Plan ahead and focus on safe driving with these tips:
- Stay Calm – There will be more people on the road during Memorial Day weekend, from Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31. Give yourself plenty of time to drive to your destination and practice patience with your fellow drivers.
- Watch for Pedestrians – Florida is home to the third-highest pedestrian death rate in the country. Stay focused when driving and do not use your phone or other devices that take your eyes off the road.
- Do Not Text and Drive – Texting while driving puts you at higher risk for a crash, it is also illegal. Avoid tickets and help keep our community safer by putting your phone away while driving or using an app to avoid distractions.
- Never Drink and Drive – Nationwide, alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2019 represented 28% of the total traffic fatalities. Make a plan for how you are getting to and from a party or other event where you plan on drinking alcohol. Designate a sober driver in your group or use a ride-sharing app to avoid alcohol-related crashes.
- Help Friends Stay Safe – If you are hosting a Memorial Day weekend party, do not let friends and family drive away if they have been drinking. Make sure all of your guests have a safe and sober way to get home.
Memorial Day Safety on the Water
In Florida, we have easier access to a variety of recreational water activities. Like our roads, the water offers its own set of risks that boaters should be prepared for during holiday weekends and year-round. Leading up to Memorial Day weekend festivities, National Safe Boating Week runs May 22 through 28. It is an annual effort created by the National Safe Boating Council to encourage boaters to navigate our waters safely.
In 2019, there were 4,169 reported accidents, 2,559 reported injuries, and 613 reported deaths on the water in the U.S., according to the latest U.S. Coast Guard statistics. Florida was the top-ranked state for boating deaths and boating accidents in the U.S. in 2019.
Do your part to prevent boating accidents with these tips:
- Take a Safe Boating Course – 70% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the operator had no boating safety instruction. Check this list from the USCG for both paid and free boating safety courses offered in our area.
- Designate a Sober Captain – Alcohol was the leading factor in 23% of boating deaths. Have a sober and responsible captain while boating to avoid accidents.
- Wear a Life Jacket – Life jackets are the simplest life-saving strategy for recreational boaters, according to the Safe Boating Campaign. USCG boating statistics for 2019 found 79 percent of boating deaths were due to drowning and 86 percent of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Use Engine Cut-Off Devices – It is also recommended that you use a wearable engine kill switch device as an additional security measure. An engine cut-off device, or engine kill switch, is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
- Follow the Weather – Florida weather can change quickly. Know the forecast before departing and check weather reports frequently while onboard.
Family First Safety Focus
Join us in putting family first during your Memorial Day weekend festivities and throughout the year. If we all do our part to make safety a priority when driving and boating, we can help keep our friends, family, and neighbors out of danger.
The team at Panter, Panter & Sampedro is here to help when you or a loved one is involved in a crash on the roads or water that is due to the negligence of another. We are happy to answer your questions during a free consultation. Call our office today at (305) 662-6178.
National Safety Council. Memorial Day Holiday Period Estimate for 2021. Retrieved from:
National Safe Boating Council. National Safe Boating Week Campaign. Retrieved from: