National Safety Council Calls for All Road Users to Be Safe Over Labor Day

Hundreds of people are estimated to die on U.S. roads this holiday weekend

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Analysis by the National Safety Council shows 455 people may lose their life in a preventable traffic crash over this year’s Labor Day holiday weekend, which kicks off Friday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. and extends through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. This estimate reflects the slight decline seen in motor vehicle fatalities through the first six months of 2023, but the figures are still a stark reminder that more must be done to prevent these deadly crashes.

“Labor Day weekend is a time to step back from our busy lives, relax and enjoy being with our loved ones, if we’re so fortunate. But that can too easily be stripped away,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “Preventable roadway crashes are still at exceedingly high levels, and every fatality statistic represents a lost family member, friend, loved one, colleague and community member. As a country, we must work together to collectively change behaviors and invest in infrastructure that promotes safe travel to save lives.”

With the U.S. Department of Transportation officially embracing the Safe System approach, which takes a holistic look at roadway safety, through its National Roadway Safety Strategy and other efforts, the country has taken critical steps towards prioritizing the end to this national crisis.

“Safety is a choice, and every road user must practice safe behavior each time they venture out,” added Chung. “For example, if you’re driving, slow down, look out for other road users including pedestrians and bicyclists, drive free of distraction and impairment, and wear a seat belt. Taking these actions can save a life.” 

NSC urges all drivers to share the road responsibly by following these safety tips during this Labor Day holiday weekend—and always:

  • Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free.
  • Buckle up: Lack of seat belt use is a top cause of fatalities in crashes. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
  • Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Holidays are a cause for celebration, but alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgment and motor skills.
  • Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit or below it if conditions dictate. Be sure to pay close attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
  • Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
  • Look before you lock: Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is still the leading cause of non-crash motor vehicle-related fatality for children. So far in 2023, 19 children in the U.S. are reported to have died because of this completely preventable tragedy. Always check your back seat for children or animals when you reach your destination.
  • Demand safer roads and safer speeds: Join the Road to Zero Coalition to learn about the Safe System approach on road safety. Elements of safer roads include rumble strips, protected bicycle lanes, clearly marked crosswalks, roundabouts and much more. Roadway design influences motor vehicle speed, which has profound implications on crash severity for all road users.

For more safety tips, visit Review supplemental information about the Labor Day holiday fatality estimates, and additional motor vehicle data and research at