More than 420 people may lose their lives this Labor Day holiday
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) —
Labor Day is one of the busiest travel days of the year. With the number of cars on the road, it can be a very dangerous time as well.
It's estimated that over 420 people across the country will lose their lives over this holiday weekend, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC also says that nearly 50,000 people will seek medical treatment for injuries from car accidents.
Traveling for the holiday weekend, Chicago resident Debbie Warkins said, "There's been a lot of traffic over the weekend, almost bumper to bumper."
"People seem to follow real close behind you on a highway going 70 miles an hour," said Terry Teske, a Morton resident.
Nationwide, the estimated number of deaths this year is 11% higher than the average of the number of actual deaths over the last six years. "People just need to slow down, I think, a little bit and realize that it's a busy weekend," Warkins said.
Debbie Hersman, the President and CEO of the NSC, said, "Many families will use Labor Day weekend to make their final summer memories before kids return to school. We want that last hurrah to be fun, not fatal."
Some motorists say the roads weren't that bad this holiday weekend. "The interstate was busy, but it moved along at a good pace, never slowed down. It was just tight," said James Younger, a Mendota resident traveling for Labor Day weekend. Others say distracted drivers created dangerous situations. "People appalled me" Warkins said. "Be courteous and, you know, move over and get off your phone!"
"People that go to the middle lane, which is fine, then they'll go to the left lane right away and then back in again," Teske explained. "So, a lot of cutting in and they really follow close."
The NSC estimates that seat belts will save over 160 lives this weekend.
Last year was actually the deadliest Labor Day weekend in the past five years in Illinois. There were 23 deaths and seven of those were alcohol-related.
These numbers are collected from the official time period of the Labor Day holiday weekend, which started at 6 P.M. Friday and goes through 11:59 P.M. Monday.