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July 6, 2009

Independence Day Syndrome


Independence Day is a good time both for commemorating the founding of this country and for personal relaxation. However, all is not a bliss. Some side-effects (fatal cashes and air pollution, e.g.) may have come along, as what I call Independence Day Syndrome.

8 killed in four Massachusetts Independence Day crashes

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON -- Eight people are dead after four separate Independence Day crashes in eastern Massachusetts.

Two of the accidents were triple fatalities, including a single-car crash at about 1 a.m. on Saturday in Walpole and a rollover on Route 95 in Attleboro at about 2:45 a.m.

A 31-year-old Florida man faces three counts of motor vehicle homicide after allegedly speeding and driving drunk before the Walpole crash. Police said Jason Wayne Spurlin of Lake Worth, Fla., was scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Wrentham District Court.

The accident killed Nicholas Kelly and Anna Dubois, both 20 of Walpole, and Amanda Murray, 23, of Medfield.

Independence Day deadliest holiday for alcohol-related crashes

Nation's deadliest days:

Fourth of July 2007: 200 deaths (44 percent were alcohol related)

Labor Day (Sept. 1 to Sept. 3, 2007): 519 deaths (40 percent)

New Year's (Dec. 30, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2007 ): 391 deaths (40 percent)

Memorial Day (May 26 to May 28, 2007): 491 deaths (38 percent)

Christmas (Dec. 22 to Dec. 25, 2007): 468 deaths (36 percent)

Thanksgiving (Nov. 22 to Nov. 25, 2007): 548 deaths (35 percent)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2007 data

Other news: 4th Of July Disney Crash Turns Deadly.

About air pollution caused by fireworks: Twin Cities air quality befouled by fireworks (star Tribune):

Particle pollution in the Twin Cities was elevated Sunday because of Saturday night's fireworks all over the metro area, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Sunday.

The agency issued an "orange" notification after light winds failed to disperse the pollutants that lingered after the celebratory fanfare and fumes. People with asthma and other health problems, as well as elderly people, were advised to stay indoors, and everyone was urged to avoid prolonged outside exertion.