PUBLIC SAFETY: Local police and other law enforcement agencies have joined a national effort to deliver a message to all Thanksgiving drivers: buckle up.
Thanksgiving traditionally puts more people on the road than at any other time during the year, statistically raising the risk of crashes.
Hundreds will die.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45%, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by half.
Consider: In 2012, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone, authorities said.
60% of them weren’t wearing seatbelts.
(The figure increases to 69% of those killed at night.)
Overall that same year, 12,174 people reportedly survived crashes because they were buckled up — as opposed to more than 10,000 who weren’t.
Younger drivers are the most likely to be unbuckled in a fatal crash.
In 2012, 63% of people aged 21 to 24 who were killed in passenger vehicle crashes weren’t wearing seatbelts. That’s 2,254 deaths.
The next-highest passenger group killed, at 61% unrestrained, were 25- to 34-year-olds.
Males (58% of those killed) are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash.
The good news: The overall seat belt use rate in the U.S. is an estimated 87%, a huge jump over 79% in 20013.
“For those people who already buckle up every time this campaign serves as a reminder,” the NHTSA says. “But for those people who still don’t buckle up for whatever reason, buckling your seat belt is one of the simplest, safest things you’ll ever do.
“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.”
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