Staying Safe from the Dangers of Summer After Memorial Day

Memorial Day is generally recognized as the official start of the summer season. It’s the time of year when long, summer weekends begin and kids anxiously anticipate the end of the school year.

The months after Memorial Day can be packed with activities and travel. Summer months also have more occurrences of certain types of personal injury accidents, such as car accidents, drunk driving accidents, swimming pool accidents, and dog bites.

Higher Risk of Car Accidents

The risk of being involved in a car accident dramatically goes up during the summer months. Statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that, in 2013, the five months between June and October had the highest number of motor vehicle crash deaths. August topped the list as the most dangerous month for car accident fatalities.

A significant portion of the increased risk comes from the fact that children are out of school, and parents often use summer as an opportunity to take some much-needed time off. More motorists are on the road traveling to and from summer vacation destinations. There is also an increase in the number of teen drivers after school lets out.

Increased Drunk Driving Hazards on Holiday Weekends

Many people consume alcoholic beverages while relaxing on vacation and enjoying long holiday weekends with friends and family. This significantly increases the risk of drunk drivers and alcohol-related accidents.Graphic of a beach-goer drinking from a beer bottle on a sunny day: many people consume alcoholic beverages while relaxing on vacation

  • Over the 2013 Fourth of July weekend, 540 people were killed and another 58,000 suffered serious injuries in alcohol-related car accidents, making July 4 the most hazardous period for traveling, according to statistics and studies of the NSC (the National Safety Council).
  • Data from the NHTSA revealed that, between the years of 2007 and 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in 61 vehicle fatalities each day over the Fourth of July weekend. This is more than the number of traffic fatalities during any other major holiday.
  • On Memorial Day weekend 2013, 407 people lost their lives.
  • Memorial Day weekend generally has 13.1 percent more traffic-related fatalities than other non-holiday weekends.
  • A study on holiday fatalities revealed that the Monday when Memorial Day is officially observed has 32 percent more fatalities than the previous three days as families return from the long holiday weekend.

Danger of Boaters Boating Under the Influence

During the summer months, many people head to local lakes and beaches to go swimming, water-skiing, and boating. While water-based activities may seem like ideal summer fun, lake-goers face the real danger of some people are operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.

Graphic of a sailboat: One of the primary contributing factors in boating accidents was alcohol consumption

Pursuant to our very own Georgia Boat Safety Act, BUI also known as (boating under influence ) of drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substance is a violation of law. Despite the law, some people indulge in alcoholic beverages while relaxing on their boats during the warm summer months, and then operating the watercraft. In fact, according to a study by the United States Coast Guard in 2013 there were over 560 deaths and over 2,6oo serious injuries in boating injury cases or incidents. One of the primary contributing factors in boating accidents was alcohol consumption, which was responsible for 236 boating accidents, 75 deaths, and 187 injuries.

Potential for More Georgia Swimming Pool Drowning Accidents

Georgia ranked third among states in the number of pool-related drownings involving children under 15 years old between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2014, with thirteen pool deaths, says the national CPSC, known as the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

At least 174 children under the age of 15 drowned in swimming pools nationwide, in 2014

Across the entire country, over the summer of 2014 there were over 170 child drownings in pools.  Of these drowning victims, 112 were under the age of five. states that between 40 and 70 percent of all children are unable to swim, greatly increasing the danger.  Unrestricted access to pools due to faulty gates, broken fences, or other means of access also contributes to swimming pool drowning accidents, and can lead to a Georgia premises claim or lawsuit for injury or drowning wrongful death.

Increased Number of Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Many people spend more time outside during summer months and the number of dog bites and animal attacks increases. Another danger people are likely to face over the summer after Memorial Day is an animal attack or dog bite.

About half of all children under the age of 13 have been bitten by a dog

Dog bites constitute another summertime hazard for children and a big reason for the increase in emergency room trips for children during the summer.  According to the Centers for Control and Prevention, about half of all children under the age of 13 have been bitten by a dog. Around 79 percent of fatal dog attacks involve children and more than 80 percent of these occur when a child is left unsupervised with a dog, or wanders off to a dog’s location.

Large parties, lots of people on a dog’s territory, and fireworks on the Fourth of July can all excite a dog and make the animal uncharacteristically aggressive.

Summer Tips to Help Keep You and Your Family Safe

If you want to minimize the risk of injuries during the summer months, the following tips can help keep you and your family safe:

  • Make sure you and all passengers wear your seat belts at all times while driving.
  • Avoid any type of driver distraction, especially talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.
  • Designate a sober driver if you intend to consume alcohol and will require a ride home or to another designation afterwards.
  • Plan summer parties at your own house, to minimize your risk of drinking and driving.  Designate drivers for everyone’s safety.
  • Have all boat passengers use only Coast Guard-approved life preservers.
  • Prohibit alcohol consumption when boating or designate a sober individual as driver.
  • Teach your children how to swim.
  • Talk with your kids about the need to stay away from swimming pool and spa drains which are known to cause small children to become trapped and sometimes drown.
  • No horseplay or running around the pool deck.
  • Do not allow your children to pet any dog without your permission and the owner’s permission, and even then, require it be done in a calm manner.