Every 4th of July, Americans celebrate Independence Day by eating 150 million hot dogs, spending $5 million on American flags imported from China, $800 million on fireworks, and over $1 billion on beer and alcohol.
Staggering numbers, considering there were under 5 million people in America when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
While all that beer, food, fun and ironic patriotism are fun to think about (and contribute to), they also mean something much darker: Drunk driving and car accidents are up, which means more auto injuries.
How many car accidents happen on Fourth of July?
The U.S. Census Bureau and the American Automobile Association predict that over 44 million Americans will travel 50+ miles from their homes this 4th of July weekend.
That’s the most ever.
And that’s a lot of room for human error!
In fact, about 400 people die in auto accidents every year on Independence Day. (146 of those deaths involved at least one driver whose BAC was +.08.)
How many Americans are injured by fireworks?
Speaking of human error, barbecues and fireworks will combine for many injuries as well.
More than 11,000 fires were started by fireworks and four incidents resulted in deaths in 2016, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sadly, many of these injuries are children younger than five. These accidents happen due to mischief or malfunction. The four deaths were involved with either illegal or professional operations.
How many fires are started by BBQs in the U.S?
You may have never thought of this one, but bristles from grill-cleaning brushes have sent over 1,600 people to the emergency room since 2002. The metal pieces of brush can fall into the grill pit, end up in food, and, if eaten, cause serious damage to the mouth, throat, and tonsils.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 8,000 home fires are ignited by sloppy grill masters each year, with July being the top culprit. Make sure your grill is situated at a safe distance from your home while you’re firing up some greasy cheeseburgers!