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Grim Prediction: Nearly 400 U.S. Traffic Fatalities Over The Labor Day Weekend

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Earlier this week, we told you that roadway traffic during the Labor Day weekend is expected to heavy -- as heavy as it was before the Great Recession. 

Today, a little more bad news. As you might expect with increased traffic, there are likely to be more traffic fatalities over the holiday, too.

The National Safety Council -- a 100-year-old nonprofit with a mission "to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities" -- monitors a range of roadway conditions, including congestion. Based on traffic patterns, fatality rates, and other factors, the organization issues predictions on roadway deaths and injuries, particularly during times of heavy traffic.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the NSC estimates that there will be 394 traffic fatalities on U.S. roads, as well as 42,200 injuries serious enough to require medical attention.

For better or worse, the NSC has a tendency to be fairly accurate in its estimates. In 2011, the organization predicted 400 fatalities over Labor Day; the actual figure was 373. In 2010, the prediction was for 368; the final tally was 390.

The good news is, even though traffic is expected to be heavier this year than last, the fatality estimate has dropped from 400 to 396. The NSC doesn't give a reason for that fluctuation, but it could be related to steadily improving safety features on automobiles, which have pushed the U.S. auto fatality rate to historic lows. (Until now, that is.) 

The better news is that there are ways to stymie the NSC's predictions, the most important of which involves wearing a seatbelt. The organization estimates that 99 additional lives could be saved if every holiday traveler would simply buckle up.

Wherever you're going next weekend -- whether it's the beach or the neighbors' backyard -- taking a few simple precautions can help prove the NSC wrong. 

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