This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Monday, meaning an extended holiday weekend for many people. With that extended celebration comes greater risk of injury. Follow these tips to protect you and your loved ones from accident and injury this holiday weekend.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. If you’re planning on doing your fireworks, please be aware that many states outlaw most fireworks. While the state of Missouri has few regulations on the purchase and use of fireworks, the Missouri Office of the State Fire Marshall suggests you look into the ordinances in your county, city and village because many governments have ordinances banning fireworks. If you live somewhere fireworks are allowed, you should follow these safety steps:
- Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
Every year people are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
SAFETY ON THE ROAD
According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration, 397 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Friday July 4th weekend in 2014. Of those 397 fatalities, 41 percent of those killed – or 164 people – were in collisions involving a drunk driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. 113 of those people died in crashes involving at least one driver with a BAC of 0.15 – or nearly twice the legal limit to drive a vehicle in the State of Missouri.
Last year, 14 people were killed and 427 injured in 953 crashes on Missouri roads over Fourth of July weekend. One person was killed or injured every 10.6 minutes. In 2015, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers arrested 127 people for driving while intoxicated.
The evening hours are especially dangerous because of drunk drivers. Over the 2014 July 4th weekend, 42% of drivers in fatal crashes after 6 p.m. were alcohol-impaired compared to 12% of drivers in fatal crashes that occurred before 6 p.m.
Don’t lose your independence this weekend. Be smart and safe:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins
- Designate a sober driver or use public transportation to safely get home from your celebration
- Use ride programs available in your community, including ride-sharing services like Uber
- Report suspected drunk drivers to law enforcement
- Commit to driving 100% sober
Driving impaired is never worth the risk to you, your family and others on the road. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them find other arrangements to safely travel.
Motorists who need assistance or who witness criminal activity on Missouri’s roads may contact the Highway Patrol by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at: (800) 525-5555 or by dialing *55 on a cellular phone.
The personal injury attorneys of Northland Injury Law are here for you at (816) 452-1800 if the worst happens, but please, be safe this weekend!