Fewer motorists are expected to hit the roads this Fourth of July weekend than last, but it’s all relative; with AAA estimating 39 million Americans on the road you are still at greater risk for a Chicago car accident through the long travel weekend.
The Chicago Tribune reports higher gas prices and the shaky economy are to blame for the 1 million fewer drivers expected to travel at least 50 miles from home.
AAA Chicago estimates 1.9 million drivers will hit the road in Illinois — 3.3 percent fewer than last year. While gas in the Chicago area has fallen by 29 cents in recent weeks — to an average of $3.93 a gallon — that’s still 37 cents more than the national average and nearly $1 a gallon higher than last year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 32 Illinois traffic fatalities over the 2009 Fourth of July holiday period.
While our Chicago personal injury lawyers wish each of you a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, we also would like to remind you of risks away from the road.
Chicago fireworks injuries: Last year, 135 people were seriously injured in Illinois fireworks accidents, according to the State Fire Marshal Even those fireworks people often think of as harmless were responsible for serious injuries, including sparklers (13) and bottle rockets (16). Seventy-eight people suffered serious burns, 10 suffered loss of eyesight and six suffered dismemberment.
More than half of those injured in Illinois fireworks accidents were under the age of 21. Injuries to the hands, fingers and eyes were most common.
Illinois Boating Accidents: Independence Day is the height of the summer boating season in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reports a total of 102 boating accidents in 2009 — claiming 25 lives and injuring 70. Common causes are drinking and boating, lack of training and failure to wear life vests or follow other established safety procedures. If your weekend plans involve being out on the water, please stay safe and take responsibility for making sure those around you are safe as well.
Chicago swimming pool accidents: Family gatherings this time of year often occur at the home with the pool. As such, many are not familiar with pool safety. Children are at particularly high risk. An adult should always be assigned to watch children. Even those using small backyard portable pools. CNN recently reported that more than 244 submersion accidents involving small portable pools have been reported in the last decade. In 209 cases, the incident resulted in a fatality.