With highway fatalities already rising after years of steady decline, the 4th of July holiday could be a particularly deadly one. As many as 409 Americans will be killed on the road during the long Independence Day weekend, with another 49,500 injured, forecasts the National Safety Council (NSC). If the safety group's prediction proves accurate, that would be the highest tally for a 4th of July holiday since 2008.
"Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER."
The warnings from the NSC were taken to heart by the senior leaders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District. Through the Executive Safety Council, a plan was devised to execute a Safe Driving Blitz before staff departed for their 4th of July holiday. Led by LTC Karl Jansen, Buffalo District commander, the Buffalo District senior leaders generated a safe driving handout and poster boards that they presented to departing employees with a reminder of safe driving tips and techniques. The Safe Driving Blitz took place July 1 to maximize the number of employees personally contacted before the long holiday weekend.
Senior leaders stopped exiting traffic and delivered the safe driving tips and techniques handout and a personal greeting wishing the occupant(s) safe travels for 4th of July weekend.
“I was impressed that our Commander took the time to think of my safety,” said Roseanne Weidner, Buffalo District industrial hygienist.
“After I recovered from the concern as to why the Commander was stopping me, I was impressed that our senior leaders would take the time to personally push an important message” said Paul Cocca, Buffalo District Hydraulics and Hydrology team leader.
For the Buffalo District, there were no reported traffic mishaps over the 4th of July holiday weekend. We would like to think that lack of driving related mishaps are at least partially due to the steps the Buffalo District leadership took.