Statement on Record July 4th Travel and Major Safety Risks on Our Roadways

  • June 27, 2024
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Media Contact: Shane Austin,


Statement by Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, on July 4th Holiday Travel

(June 27, 2024, Washington, DC) | The Fourth of July is a major car travel holiday across the U.S. and one of the deadliest on our roads. This year, AAA projects 60.6 million people will drive to their destinations, a new record.

This huge influx of road travel comes on the heels of historic high numbers of fatalities on our highways and local streets. On June 24, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary data for traffic fatalities in the first quarter of 2024, estimating that 8,650 people died in just three months. Advocates released a statement in response to these terrifying figures.

Sadly, national celebrations also tend to come with an increase in alcohol-impaired crash fatalities. According to data from NHTSA, in 2021, the percentage of fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving was 39% over the Fourth of July holiday compared to 31% for the entire year.

Studies show that on average, a first offender will have driven drunk 87 times before getting arrested, which is why states must take meaningful steps now to deter this deadly behavior. Requiring ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for all convicted drunk driving offenders to prevent them from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is a proven lifesaver. Yet, 20 states lack this commonsense law. We urge Congress to advance the End DWI Act (H.R. 8213) to motivate states to take action. Also, lowering the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from .08 percent to .05 percent has been shown to have a broad deterrent effect that reduces the incidence of drunk driving and saves lives but does not necessarily increase arrests or lower alcohol consumption. All states should follow Utah’s lead and enact this safety solution already used by approximately 100 countries.

We cannot and should not continue to tolerate this deadly toll on our roads. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must build on its safety advancement of issuing a rule requiring automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection and complete the other vehicle safety rulemakings mandated in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58) and other overdue statutorily mandated advances without further delay. These include issuing minimum performance standards for (ADAS) including AEB for vehicles over 10,000 pounds, lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keeping assist (LKA), impaired driving prevention technology, detection and alert systems to prevent hot cars incidents, and other lifesaving upgrades.

As the holiday approaches, we remind all drivers to stay awake, aware and alert. Always drive sober and device-free at safe speeds and ensure every vehicle occupant is buckled up. A fun night with family and friends should end with the bang of fireworks, not car crashes.


About Advocates

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.