With the Fourth of July finally here, many families throughout Tennessee will enjoy the warm weather by traveling and others will relax at home. Either way, the Hartsoe Law Firm wishes you a safe and fun holiday weekend.
For those of you traveling this weekend, be safe. AAA estimates that 39 million drivers will be hitting the roads, down slightly from 40 million in 2010, USA Today reports. The national auto group believes that an average $1 increase in gas prices is the reason for the slight dip in drivers.
But 39 million is still a huge number of drivers and they represent a high risk of car accidents in Knoxville and the surrounding areas this weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 989 people died on Tennessee roads in 2009. That ranked Tennessee ninth in the country in highest number of traffic deaths.
And despite tough criminal penalties for people convicted of DUI, people continue to drink and drive, causing tragic and devastating injuries and deaths. In 2009, The Century Council reports, 303 died in 2009 in alcohol-impaired crashes in Tennessee, about 1/3 of the total number of accidents.
While vehicle accidents are a risk, so are boating accidents. Tennessee had 266,185 registered vessels in 2010, which was down more than 3,000 from 2009, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. But despite the drop in vessels, there were 167 boating accidents in 2010, up from 2009, when there were 158. There were also 19 fatal accidents in 2010.
The Ocoee River had 34 boating accidents, tops in the state. And while boating accidents that cause trauma are a concern, drowning is also a risk. The Associated Press recently reported that two people have drowned in the Ocoee River this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in 2007. Children are most likely to drown. Among children ages 1 to 4 who died from unintentional injuries, nearly 30 percent died from drowning.
So, whether whitewater rafting or swimming in your own pool, be safe. Swimming pool injuries can lead to lifelong injuries and brain damage. Near-drownings can have substantial effects on a child.
But what many people most look forward to during the Fourth of July weekend is fireworks. They light up the sky and are fun to watch, but they can be dangerous. Fireworks accidents claimed seven lives in 2008 and another 7,000 were injured, the CDC reoprts. The most common fireworks injuries are to the eyes, hands, fingers, arms and legs.
Here are some fireworks tips to keep your family safe this holiday weekend from The National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Use fireworks outdoors only
- Obey local laws
- Always have water handy
- Never relight a "dud" firework
- Don't alter or use homemade fireworks
- Don't mix alcohol and fireworks
- Don't let children under 12 use sparklers
- Use common sense