Our Montgomery injury attorneys wish you a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.
The risk for Alabama traffic accidents will remain high all week. The Birmingham News reported record numbers of travelers are expected to hit the road through the upcoming weekend. In fact, with Fourth of July falling in the middle of the week, the rush has already started -- significant numbers are expected to hit the roads over the weekend and through the first part of the week.
The long holiday week is one reason AAA is forecasting a record number of travelers. Some 40 million will hit the road Friday, accounting for about 25 percent of holiday travel. About half of all travelers will hit the road Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Alabama Highway Patrol plans a statewide enforcement blitz beginning Wednesday July 4 and continuing on through the weekend.
"We urge motorists to focus on the road (and not cell phones and other distractions) and to obey all traffic laws, said trooper spokeswoman Robyn Litchfield. "We want people to buckle up, avoid drinking and driving and pay attention to speed limits."
The National Safety Council estimates 173 motorists will die this year in holiday traffic accidents. The defined holiday travel period is Tuesday at 6 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. More than 17,000 will be injured. That is an increase of 50 percent compared to a non-holiday period.
Alabama fireworks accidents are also a concern. The National Fire Protection Association reports more than 8,000 people are treated each year in U.S. emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. Injuries to the hands, arms, face and eyes are most common.
The Birmingham News reported fireworks sparked 20 fires in Birmingham last year, injuring 8 people and causing some $80,000 in damages. City ordinance prohibits firing firearms or fireworks in the city limits and is punishable by a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail.
The United Eye Injury Register reports 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss in fireworks accidents each year. About half of injury victims are children. Frequently, it's bystanders who are injured. This can also be true at professional shows when debris rains into the crowd or onlookers are otherwise injured.
Swimming pool accidents, boating accidents and drowning are also primary threats through the height of summer -- particularly around the trio of summer holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
More than 3,500 people a year die in unintentional drowning accidents. Please remember to pay special attention to children, even when lifeguards are present. Teach your child never to swim alone. Always use approved life jackets and flotation devices. And celebrate responsibly.
Lastly, authorities remind you to get plenty of water. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious threats as the country simmers beneath a summer heatwave. These illnesses can result in extreme rise in body temperature and may be life-threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat illness, move them into the shade and contact emergency medical assistance.