Memorial Day weekend kicks off deadly driving season, experts say

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Memorial Day Weekend is normally the start of an uptick in deadly accidents, according to law enforcement officials and AAA.

AAA calls Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers.

For Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) teamed up more with than 600 law enforcement agencies throughout the state in the national “Border to Border” mobilization. The campaign is organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

ISP reported nationally of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts. In 2020, there were 16 crashes in Illinois over the Memorial Day weekend, resulting in 16 fatalities. Last year’s Memorial Day weekend – the period from 6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Monday – saw 11 crashes resulting in 14 fatalities.

A recent study showed Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest holidays for car crashes.

A St. Louis man, Chukwdi Njoku was injured in a car accident in April. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down and partially paralyzed from the waist up. Njoku told News 4 he was driving down Forest Park Parkway when he collided with another driver.

“Driver was making a left turn onto Big Bend as I was crossing Big Bend, and they ran into me on my driver’s side,” he said. “So, I just remember thinking to myself like ‘why are my arms unable to move?’ Then I tried to move my legs and I wasn’t able to move my legs. So, I figured it was a spinal cord injury. Had to go through a couple of surgeries right off the bat. My legs aren’t moving right now. My arms--I can move around a little bit, but I don’t have-- I can’t really grab anything or pull or push anything. One mistake can change somebody’s life.”

A GoFundMe is set up for Njoku.

A fatal accident happened at Kingshighway near Arsenal early Monday morning in south St. Louis.