Itasca, IL – Millions of Americans are preparing to travel on the road this holiday season to visit family and friends. Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are among the busiest travel days of the year. These two holidays also are among the deadliest holidays because of a high number of alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes.
The Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 24, and continues through the end of Sunday, Dec. 27. During this time, the National Safety Council estimates 317 traffic fatalities and 16,800 disabling injuries will occur. The New Year’s holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31, and continues through the end of Sunday, Jan. 3. During this time, the council estimates there will be 301 traffic fatalities and 16,000 disabling injuries.
NSC asks Americans to drive safe and sober, and also to buckle up this holiday season. Safety belts are the most effective protection against serious injuries and reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent. NSC estimates safety belts may spare:
274 lives this Christmas holiday period and an additional 75 lives could be spared if all drivers and passengers wore safety belts.
260 lives and an additional 71 lives could be spared if all drivers and passengers wore safety belts during the New Year’s holiday.
This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Over the Limit. Under Arrest” crackdown runs from Dec. 16 through Jan. 3. NSC supports this campaign, which focuses on increasing public awareness and reducing alcohol-impaired crashes. A zero-tolerance enforcement of impaired driving will be enacted throughout the holidays. Sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and undercover officers will help send the message to drivers that if they are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.