Be Safe This Labor Day Weekend!
Labor Day, often called the “unofficial end of summer,” is the last major holiday Americans can celebrate before the fall sets in. Many of us take advantage of this by bringing our families to the beach, local parks, and backyard barbecues. Unfortunately, this last gust of summer fun also brings out significant safety concerns.
Holiday Traffic Safety
The National Safety Council estimates that nearly 400 deaths may occur on U.S. roads during this Labor Day holiday weekend (Friday evening through Monday). This is largely due to the greater number of cars on the road as well as increased alcohol consumption, a major contributor to motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, the NSC estimates 45,300 nonfatal injuries that will require medical consultation as a result of traffic crashes. 
Wear a seat belt. Even if you are driving safely, you can’t control everyone on the road. An estimated 157 lives could be saved over the long weekend if vehicle occupants wear their safety belts. 
Avoid distractions. Cell phones, snacks and even other passengers can take your focus away from the road and put you at risk for a crash. A way to help avoid this is to set GPS directions and music choices before starting your drive. 
Never drink and drive. The percentage of alcohol-impaired fatalities is always above average during the Labor Day period, and in 2017 they made up 36% of all traffic deaths during this time frame. 
To help you avoid driving under the influence at all costs, Martin, Harding and Mazzotti, LLP will offer free cab rides home from noon to midnight on Labor Day (Monday, September 2). Please download our free app to use these services.
Additional Safety Tips
Wear sun protection. To prevent painful sunburn and lower your risk of skin cancer, it is recommended that you wear at least 30 SPF sunscreen, reapplying every two hours – or every hour if you’re in the water. Wearing 100% UV protection sunglasses is also important to protect your eyes. 
Grill responsibly. The National Fire Protection Association says that an average of 19,000 patients went to the emergency with injuries involving grills between 2013 and 2017.  To avoid being burned or starting a fire, the NFPA recommends the following:
- Only use grills outdoors
- Place your grill away from any wood objects
- Keep young children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill
- Keep your grill clean – remove fat buildup and grease from the tray below
- Never leave your grill unattended while in use 
Be cautious in water. Boating and swimming often make for a fun Labor Day. However, it’s important to take precautions when in or near water, as about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day in the U.S.
- When swimming: never swim alone, make sure young children wear life jackets, and do not drink and swim
- When boating: Do NOT drive under the influence of any non-prescribed drugs or alcohol, keep a first aid kit with you, and be familiar with all of the rules of the water 
Be safe around fireworks. Firework shows are exciting to watch and nearly harmless for spectators — but sparklers, Roman candles, and other store-bought fireworks contribute to thousands of injuries every year. In 2018, an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms involved fireworks. Children under 15 made up 36% of those estimated injuries. If you choose to use fireworks this Labor Day weekend:
- Only light one firework at a time
- Do not point fireworks at anyone
- Do not let young children handle fireworks
- Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 
Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol poisoning is always a risk when drinking heavily, but many more people can experience chronic dehydration. It’s important to drink plenty of water during your Labor Day festivities, especially if you’re going to consume alcohol, which dehydrates the body even more. Make sure to:
- Drink water whenever you’re thirsty
- Set a limit on the amount of alcohol you plan to consume and stick with it
- Drink an equal amount of water for every alcoholic drink you consume
- Never operate machinery, use fireworks, or swim while under the influence
- Always plan to have a ride available if you consume more than you planned