Lots of People Will Be on the Road on Labor Day Weekend--Drive Safely!

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WASHINGTON--Aug. 28, 2013: This Labor Day, millions of cars will hit the road as Americans celebrate summer with family and friends. As with all of the summer holidays, many people celebrate the end of summer by driving to a location that is more than 50 miles away from their home. The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is reminding all motorists to drive carefully when they travel this weekend.

In 2012, more than 6,270 red-light violations occurred over the Labor Day holiday.* This year is likely to be just as dangerous. Travel club AAA is projecting that 34.1 million Americans will travel over the holiday, with 85 percent expected to drive to their destinations. This prediction represents an increase of 4.3 percent when comparing the numbers to last year's drivers. Due to this expected rise in the number of road travelers, the National Safety Council predicts that 394 traffic deaths will occur over the Labor Day travel period, an increase of nearly 6 percent over 2012 numbers. In addition, the safety organization estimates that another 42,200 people will require medical treatment for traffic-related injuries.

"With a significant influx of cars on our roadways, all drivers must be careful over the holiday weekend, especially in and around intersections," says Melissa Wandall, President of NCSR. "We encourage everyone to slow down and take extra care to stop at red lights."

Friday, August 30 is expected to be the busiest travel day of 2013. AAA predicts that 46 percent of Americans will depart for the holiday weekend on Friday and 43 percent will return on Monday, September 2.

Summertime in general presents drivers with increased risk on the road as more people are driving longer distances for summer travel. An analysis recently released by NCSR and FocusDriven showed that distracted drivers had a significant impact on red-light running in the summer months of 2012. The analysis –Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety – found that more than 1.8 million red-light violations from June through August 2012 were a result of distracted driving.

It is clear that red-light running remains an issue on roadways year round, beyond the peak of violations during holiday travel periods. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intersection-related vehicle accidents caused more than 8,500 fatalities in 2011. NCSR urges all drivers who are hitting the road this Labor Day to take extra precautions while driving, especially in and around intersections.

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