National agency reminds travelers to buckle up this holiday season

LOGO Buckle Up

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reaching out to all Thanksgiving travelers with one important message: buckle up.

Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, putting more people on the road, and unfortunately increasing the likelihood of crashes. Each year in our country, tens of thousands of passenger vehicle occupants die in motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone, according to a press release. Many of those deaths could have been prevented with one simple click of a seat belt.

The NHTSA estimates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent.

In 2013, approximately 12,584 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 2,800 lives could have been saved.

And that’s just the point of this national seat belt campaign: Buckle Up America – Every Trip, Every Time.

In 2013, a total of 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes, and almost half — 49 percent — of those occupants were not buckled up. Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 (6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2), a disturbing 58 percent — that is, nearly 6 out of 10 — of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. At night, the statistic was even worse: 64 percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled, according to the release.

Younger drivers are the most likely to be unbuckled in a fatal crash. In 2013, among passenger vehicle occupant fatalities where restraint use was known, the age groups 21-24 and 25-34 had the highest percentage — 55 percent — of occupants killed who were unrestrained.

NHTSA data also reveals that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash. Fifty-four percent of the males killed in crashes in 2013 were not buckled up, as compared to 41 percent for females. Right now, the overall seat belt use rate in the United States is 87 percent, which is a major increase over the 79 percent use rate in 2003, but there is still a lot of room for further gains.

So this Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, make sure your seat belt is buckled before you start any road trip — whether it’s one mile or a thousand.

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, visit the NHTSA website.

 

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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