It’s the Fourth of July Weekend: Let’s be Careful Out There

June 28th, 2018

By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq.


The deadliest holiday on America roads each year isn’t New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, both of which are typically tied to drinking and celebrating. Instead, the deadliest holiday on roadways in the United States by far is July Fourth, according to government statistics.

With that in mind, we here at MyPhillyLawyer want to take a few minutes to remind everyone that we all need to take care as we travel, celebrate and enjoy the upcoming four-day July 4th holiday weekend.

In a sobering safety advisory on its Website, the non-profit National Safety Council announced June 29 that an estimated 409 people will die on American roads this holiday weekend between 6 p.m. Thursday, July 2 through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, all due to drinking and driving, inattentive or distracted driving, excessive speeds and other hazards. That death toll estimate is the highest made by the group for the holiday since 2008. Some 49,500 injuries requiring medical attention are also expected to occur this holiday weekend, the group said.

“Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a statement. “A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER.”

To protect yourself and your friends and family members, be sure to buckle your seat belts in every vehicle you travel in to add a layer of security. At least 155 lives will be saved during this holiday weekend due to the wearing of seat belts, the group said, while another 99 lives could be saved if everyone buckled up.

Drivers should also reduce their vehicle’s speed for safety since more speed-related fatalities occur during the summer months than any other time of year, the group added. Drivers should also ditch their cell phones while driving, even if they are hands-free, since drivers talking on cell phones are up to four times as likely to crash, the group said.

A huge reminder by the group is that all drivers should be sure not to drink alcohol when they know they will have to operate a motor vehicle. If a driver wants to drink, they should designate a non-drinking person who will operate the vehicle or arrange for a taxi or other safe alternative form of transportation. You are literally putting yourself and others in danger if you drive while intoxicated and creating huge liability risks for yourself and your family if you hurt someone else when you are drinking and driving.

And, of course, there’s more to July 4th safety than vehicle crashes and drunk driving. There’s also the potential for serious accidents and injuries and personal liability issues involving fireworks, cookouts, swimming and other recreational hazards when people are not using common sense.

Cookout safety:

Even barbecue grills can cause injuries if they are used improperly or mixed with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Improper equipment, poor safety rules, carelessness and other factors can cause injuries to adults and children who come near hot grills and outdoor cooking areas. Be sure to check your gas grill’s propane tank and hoses for leaks, dents, cracks or corrosion, and never use a grill indoors or under any structures that may catch fire, such as patio covers. Avoid loose clothing while grilling, especially long sleeves, to prevent burn injuries and be sure to keep all children away from the grill while it is being used and still hot.

And don’t forget about the potential dangers of food poisoning when dining outdoors in the heat of summer. Be extra careful to make sure that foods made with mayonnaise, including coleslaw and potato salad, are kept chilled and out of direct sunlight so they don’t spoil and cause illnesses to guests, and don’t leave uncooked meats out in the summer heat for long periods of time before that are cooked. Many a holiday has been ruined at private parties, restaurants and other facilities due to food that has spoiled and caused serious illnesses for guests, while raising serious legal claims that you certainly want to avoid.

Fireworks safety:

Children and adults love to watch fireworks on the July 4th holiday, but the serious dangers of these holiday traditions cannot be stressed enough. Every year, thousands of people are injured and several people die from fireworks accidents in the days before and after July 4, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The latest annual report from the CPSC report found that there were 11 fireworks-related deaths and an estimated 10.500 hospital emergency room treated injuries across the nation during all of 2014. In 2009, the CPSC reported two deaths and an estimated 8,800 injuries.

For safer fireworks activities, consumers should never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, while fireworks that are packaged in brown paper should be avoided because this is often a sign that they were made for professional displays and could pose serious dangers to consumers, according to recommendations from the CPSC. Adults should always supervise fireworks activities, including the use of sparklers, the commission also recommends. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals, the group said.

When using fireworks, you should never place any part of your body directly over the fireworks when lighting the fuse, and users should quickly back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks, the group recommends. Users should also never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully or point or throw fireworks at another person. And for safety, a bucket of water or a garden hose should be kept handy in case of fire or other mishap while fireworks are being launched. .

Swimming pool safety:

Swimming pool safety and your rights and responsibilities as a pool owner or guest is also important to keep in mind this holiday weekend. Here are five key swimming pool safety tips for you to remember this holiday weekend:

*Completely fence the perimeter around your pool to prevent accidental drownings and protect yourself from liability if someone would wander into your yard and fall into the pool.

*Be sure that all young children playing near a pool on your property are wearing life vests so they are protected if they should accidentally fall in.

*Never leave children unsupervised near a pool. If children are to be around or in a pool, they MUST be properly and adequately supervised by an adult who can swim and is trained in rescue techniques.

*Keep rescue equipment by the pool at all times, including a life ring and rope, a first aid kit and flotation devices, so that any emergency can be handled if needed.

*Homeowners should learn CPR so that in the event of an emergency they can protect their guests and themselves before rescue workers ever arrive.

Have Fun and Be Safe:

Remember this holiday weekend to enjoy yourself with friends and family, but also use caution to prevent tragedies and legal liability from accidents and injuries that can occur in a wide variety of ways.

Don’t drink and drive, be sure to drive safely, use caution when cooking out, watch your children and guests in your swimming pool and be extra careful around fireworks.

From all of us here at MyPhillyLawyer, we send you our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday. We stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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