July 4: 36 million people predicted to drive for travel

The long Fourth of July weekend means extra relaxation for many Americans, but not necessarily for truck drivers, who will contend with crowded highways and potential cargo thefts.

AAA is predicting 36 million people will drive for their Independence Day weekend travel from today, June 30 to Monday, July 4, a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

Low gas prices may be driving the increase in auto travel for the holiday, says AAA. The weekend is expected to see its lowest gas prices since 2005, according to AAA. The national average price for gasoline per gallon is 47 cents less than a year ago, at $2.31.

AAA also anticipates it will rescue 370,000 motorists during the holiday travel period. The primary reasons for those rescues are expected to be dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires.

Cargo Thefts

Freightwatch International cautions that because this July 4 falls on Monday, it extends the weekend and creates longer stage times and lower security staffing. The average loss of value Freightwatch recorded over the July 4 weekend last year was $1.1 million. That figure is six times higher than the average loss of value over the entire year, according to Freighwatch. Three separate thefts of electronics were recorded during the July 4 weekend in 2015.

To avoid cargo theft this holiday weekend, Freightwatch recommends confirming a receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday weekend match with scheduled delivery times. Freightwatch also recommends ensuring security protocols are up-to-date for in-transit and warehouse operations, and GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments.

Notable thefts from July 4, 2013-2015:

  • 2013 – California: Fictitious pickup of produce, no value reported
  • 2013 – New Jersey: Pilferage of cigarettes and televisions, $257,000
  • 2014 – Florida: Facility theft of cell phones, $451,000
  • 2014 – Texas: Full truckload of meat, $200,000
  • 2015 – Oklahoma: Fictitious pickup of cash-in-transit, no value reported
  • 2015 – Nevada: Facility theft of computers, $250,000
  • 2015 – California: Facility theft of hard drives, $381,000
  • 2015 – Nevada: Facility theft of electronics, no value reported
  • 2015 – Washington: Full truckload of cell phones, $5,700,000

Monday July 4 may mean fewer drunk driving incidents

Data from the Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) indicates a Monday July 4 holiday is almost three times safer than when the holidays falls on a day later in the week. July 4 remains one of the most dangerous days of the year for alcohol-related traffic incidents, however. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) shows alcohol was a factor in 41 percent of roadway fatalities from the July 4, 2014 holiday.