47,000+ vehicle crash injuries predicated for holiday nationwide

The American Red Cross of Utah is urging the community to donate blood so that emergency teams and hospitals will be ready for Memorial Day weekend, one of the deadliest times for traffic accidents nationwide. With a surge in traffic crashes during holidays and throughout the summer, the availability of blood for transfusions is vital in saving lives and supporting trauma victims.

“Blood must be on hand to successfully treat many trauma victims,” said Dr. Walter Kelley, Medical Director for the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Red Cross. “A single car accident patient can require as many as 100 units of blood, so we want to help make sure our hospitals have lifesaving blood available when it’s needed most.”

Urgent Need for O Negative Blood

As over 38 million people are expected to travel by car during Memorial Day weekend – the highest number since tracking began in 2000 – the National Safety Council projects that crowded roadways could lead to an estimated 418 traffic-related fatalities and over 47,000 injuries nationwide.

A single major accident with injuries can quickly deplete a hospital’s blood supply, explained Heidi Ruster, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Utah/Nevada Region. “It’s important that donors of all types donate blood now,” she said. “The need for O negative blood, the universal blood type, is particularly critical so that trauma centers have sufficient stock on hand when time is critical.”

The Red Cross plays a crucial role in maintaining the country’s blood supply, contributing around 40% of all collected blood. To meet the needs of patients at over 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide, the Red Cross must collect 12,500 blood and 3,000 platelet donations daily. In Utah, approximately 45 hospitals rely on the Red Cross for their blood supply. Donors can schedule an appointment using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Act of Remembrance on Memorial Day

Between making travel arrangements and planning vacations, the true significance of Memorial Day can sometimes be overshadowed. Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring and remembering the military personnel who sacrificed their lives while serving in the nation’s armed forces.

“There are many ways to pay tribute on Memorial Day,” said Ruster, a U.S. Navy veteran. “By commemorating our fallen heroes with a blood donation, you not only honor them but also become a hero for those in hospitals who require lifesaving transfusions.”

The first national observance of Memorial Day was on May 30, 1868, and continued on that day until 1970. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress to be honored on the last Monday in May.