Independence Day Weekend Safety

  • Published
  • By 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
  • 302nd Airlift Wing

The 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign marks the period where Airmen and Guardians are traveling more and participate more in outdoor activities that historically pose a greater risk of danger. This timeframe began on Memorial Day weekend and will continue through Labor Day weekend.

As the 4th of July weekend approaches, the Air Force Reserve occupational safety program manager informed safety professionals throughout the Air Force Reserve about fireworks safety considerations and travel statistics, and emphasized the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.

Air Force Reserve Command occupational safety program manager:

The 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign begins on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day. Historically, this period presents the greatest risk of mishaps and injuries to our personnel. But what you may not know is the Department of the Air Force lost 12 members to preventable mishaps during this period last year. As of 27 Jun 23 (less than a month), the latest number of Department of the Air Force fatal mishaps is eleven.

As the 4th of July weekend approaches, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts there will be record breaking travel this upcoming weekend/holiday period.

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car

Date Worst Travel Time Best Travel Time
Thu, June 29 4:00 - 6:00 PM Before 12:00 PM
Fri, June 30 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Before 10:00 AM, After 6:00 PM
Sat, July 1 1:00 PM Before 12:00 PM
Sun, July 2 Minimal Traffic Impact Expected  
Mon, July 3 Minimal Traffic Impact Expected  
Tue, July 4 12:00 - 3:00 PM Before 11:00 AM, After 6:00 PM
Wed, July 5 3:00 - 6:00 PM Before 2:00 PM

The AAA projects 50.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day weekend, setting a record for the holiday. Domestic travel over the long weekend will increase by 2.1 million people compared to 2022. This year’s projection surpasses the previous July 4th weekend record set in 2019 of 49 million travelers. 

For purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. A record number of travelers throughout a five-day holiday period will pose heightened risk to our Airmen and Guardians.    

Travelers can expect delays, traffic jams, distracted drivers and more. Traffic apps, local Department of Transportation notifications, and patience are key to minimizing holiday traffic frustrations.

Not only will traffic safety concerns be on our minds this weekend, but fireworks safety is also an area of high interest.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), fireworks are best left to the professionals. However, if consumer fireworks are legal to purchase where you live, the NSC offers the following tips:

•    Never allow young children to handle fireworks
•    Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
•    Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
•    Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
•    Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
•    Never light fireworks indoors
•    Only use fireworks away from people, houses and flammable material
•    Never point or throw fireworks at another person
•    Only light one fireworks at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
•    Never ignite devices in a container
•    Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
•    Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
•    Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish any fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
•    Never use illegal fireworks

Distracted driving and driving while impaired are two issues that remain a problem across our nation. Remind people to drink responsibly and do not mix drinking and driving.  

Distracted driving – what can we say but put the darn phone down. That call or text can wait until you are safely stopped.

Eleven lives lost thus far in the 101 Critical Days of Summer is eleven too many.  

Please continue to highlight risk management and working with your leadership teams to reinforce a strong, positive safety culture.

Thanks for your time and stay safe out there.