NSC Forecasts a Deadly Memorial Day Weekend on the Road

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released estimates indicating that 402 fatalities are expected during the holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 25, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 28.

This is the second consecutive year the organization has forecast more than 400 roadway deaths. The NSC also indicates 45,800 people may be seriously injured on the roads this weekend.

According to the NSC, when compared to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the three summertime holidays – Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day – typically claim over 110 lives each day, the highest average per-day fatality rates.

In 2016, the US experienced:

  • 161,374 preventable deaths;
  • 44.5 million injuries; and
  • $967.9 billion in costs

Millions drive as part of their jobs. Some are professionally-trained drivers, many are not. If a job does not primarily involve driving, the employee often does not receive the same safety management or engagement in driving safety others may get.

Employers need to manage the safety of employees on the road, just as they manage other risks in the workplace. The NSC Journey to Safety Excellence incorporates leadership and employee engagement, risk management, safety management systems and measurement to keep employees safe.

Off-the-job crashes account for 80% of employer crash-related health benefit costs, and half of crash-related injuries cause employees to miss work. According to Injury Facts, the average economic cost of a crash is more than $1 million per death and more than $78,000 per nonfatal disabling injury. Employers pay significant costs associated with off-the-job crashes, including decreases in employee health, well-being and productivity, and increases in lost time from work and insurance costs.

To prevent motor vehicle crashes involving their employees on and off the job, employers should:

  • Offer defensive driving courses and other training specific to the risks faced;
  • Offer programs for employees with alcohol or prescription or illegal drug problems;
  • Enact a corporate cell phone policy to prevent all cell phone use behind the wheel; and
  • Enact a policy that requires employees to wear seat belts.