NSC Projections for Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities
According to the National Safety Council, it is projected that 415 people will die on American roadways during the 2021 Memorial Day holiday. This year the Memorial Day holiday period is from Friday, May 28 at 6 pm until Monday, May 31 at 11:59 pm. The NSC estimates that traffic deaths could be between 337 to 502 but acknowledges that there is some uncertainty related to COVID-19.
Prior NSC Projections
In 2019, the NSC projected that there would be 380 Memorial Day holiday period traffic fatalities with a confidence interval of 343 – 420. In reality, there were 453 actual traffic deaths during the 2019 holiday. Last year the NSC projected 366 traffic deaths with a confidence interval of 326 – 410, but the actual deaths have not been reported.
In general, the NSC is extremely close in its forecast. In 2018 for instance, the NSC projected 409 Memorial Day holiday period traffic fatalities with a confidence interval of 351 – 459. There were 430 actual traffic-related fatalities that year.
Memorial Day and Impaired Driving
Throughout the year, traffic deaths involving an alcohol-impaired driver account for around 30% of all traffic deaths. During the Memorial Day holiday period, the percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities is even higher. In 2018, the annual average of traffic deaths involving an alcohol-impaired driver was 29%, during the Memorial Day holiday period it was 37%.
Although the percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities has decreased over the past several decades, it is still extremely high, accounting for thousands of lives lost each year in preventable accidents.