WVU Medicine sees an increased number of injuries during 4th of July weekend


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine said the 4th of July Weekend is of concern because of an increased number of accidents, and this year wasn’t any different.

Alison Wilson, MD

“We always see an increase in traumas each year,” Alison Wilson, MD, WVU Medicine Critical Care, and Trauma Institute Chair and Division Chief said. “There has been a national trend of record high trauma numbers over the last three months. We think it has to do with people being out more this year because of last year’s lockdowns.”

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 482 people may die on U.S. roads this Independence Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often a cause for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor-vehicle crashes.

Independence Day is observed on July 4. The Independence Day holiday period varies from 1.25 to 4.25 days in length, depending on which day of the week the holiday falls. In 2021, the holiday falls on a Sunday, so the Independence Day holiday period is 3.25 days and extends from 6 p.m. Friday, July 2 to 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 5.

Visit the Holiday introduction page for a list of holiday periods and their definitions.

National Safety Council estimate

There is uncertainty associated with any estimate. The 90% confidence interval for the estimate of traffic deaths this holiday is 396 to 577. This confidence interval cannot account for the rapid lifestyle and transportation changes currently occurring as the country reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the unprecedented impact, the COVID-19 recovery is having on social activities, the uncertainty of this year’s estimate is increased. 

This chart shows NSC Independence Day holiday fatality estimates and confidence intervals compared to the actual number of deaths. Because the holiday varies from 1.25 to 4.25 days long, the number of fatalities during the holiday also fluctuates widely from year to year.


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