Trains, Planes and Automobiles: July 4th Travel

Pyrotechnic Business: Fireworks Sales by U.S. Retailers and WholesalersAs the United States celebrates the Fourth of July holiday, it’s worth analyzing data about travel this weekend. More than 13 percent of the U.S. population is on the move at least 50 miles from home this holiday weekend as America celebrates Independence Day, according to AAA. It’s an increase of 0.7 percent.

Anyone driving on the nation’s highways can expect a bit more congestion as this is the highest total since 2007, with 35.5 million people traveling by car. AAA said 3.2 million people will fly, with the same number expected to take boats, trains or buses on their trips.

The other 279 million or so of us won’t be making that long of a trip – but you still can expect excessively heavy car and pedestrian traffic near the various July 4th fireworks’ displays.

Quite a bit of those fireworks have been imported from China. In 2014, the value of those imports was $247.1 million, while U.S. fireworks manufacturers exported just $11.9 million worth of products, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Those numbers might rise a bit starting in 2015, as Izenda’s home state of Georgia approved sales of all types of fireworks. Retailers sold $369.4 million worth of fireworks in 2012, while wholesalers topped $508.1 million in sales, the Census Bureau reported.

While we’re waiting for those fireworks shows to start, we’ll be eating some of that $6.6 billion in food bought this holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

Despite throwing all of that tea into Boston Harbor, and then declaring our independence, the British are still coming to the United States – or at least their money is. The value of trade between the two countries reached $107.9 billion last year. That makes our former adversary our seventh-leading trading partner.

Sadly, the National Highway Transportation Safety Association said 750 people lost their lives in crashes involving drunk drivers from 2009 to 2013. That was 39 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over the same five-year period.

As expected, the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in those fatal crashes was more than three times higher at night.

Many of those victims were young. During the holiday in 2013, almost half of the drivers ages 18-34 killed in fatal crashes were considered drunk.