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For Immediate Release,
12/6/2012
Contact:
Kathy Lane
Communications Director
(630) 775-2307
kathy.lane@nsc.org
 
​The National Safety Council Announces Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimates for Christmas Day 2012 and New Year's Day 2013
 
 
Christmas Day, 2012
 
The 2012 Christmas Day holiday period begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, December 21, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, December 25. Our estimate of traffic fatalities for this 4.25-day holiday period is 377 deaths with a 90% confidence interval (C.I.) of 320 to 441 deaths. Medically consulted injuries are estimated at 40,300 with a range of 34,300 to 47,200. A medically consulted injury is an injury serious enough that a medical professional was consulted. Medically consulted injuries are not comparable to previous disabling injury estimates. An evaluation of recent Christmas Day holiday period estimates is presented in Table 1 (actual FARS data for 2011 is not yet available).
 
Table 1. Evaluation of Recent Christmas Day Holiday Period Estimates
 
Year
Number of Days
Estimate
90% Confidence Interval
Actual
2006
3.25
415
332-507
379
2007
4.25
497
424-579
454
2008
4.25
432
371-500
409
2009
3.25
317
253-388
248
2010
3.25
303
233-384
249
 
Studies have shown that seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities. Although the reduction in the risk of fatal injury from wearing seat belts is higher for light-truck occupants at 50%, the lower figure for passenger car occupants is used in the calculations here as the more conservative measure. The most recent data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicate that seat belt use by fatally injured passenger car and light truck occupants was 44.8%. Based on this information it is estimated that 138 person’s lives may be saved this Christmas Day holiday period because they will wear their safety belts and an additional 94 lives could be saved if all wore safety belts.
 
The average number of traffic fatalities during the six most recent 4.25 day Christmas Day holiday periods was 3.9% lower than similar non-holiday periods (492 vs. 512 deaths). The difference is not statistically significant.
 
Details of the estimating methodology and further discussion can be viewed here.
 
New Year’s Day, 2013
 
The 2013 New Year’s Day holiday period begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, December 28, 2012 and ends at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Our estimate of traffic fatalities for this 4.25-day holiday period is 407 deaths with a 90% confidence interval (C.I.) of 347 to 475 deaths. Medically consulted injuries are estimated at 43,500 with a range of 37,100 to 50,900. A medically consulted injury is an injury serious enough that a medical professional was consulted. Medically consulted injuries are not comparable to previous disabling injury estimates. An evaluation of recent New Year’s Day holiday period estimates is presented in Table 2 (actual FARS data for 2011 is not yet available).
 
Table 2. Evaluation of Recent New Year’s Day Holiday Period Estimates
 
Year
Number of Days
Estimate
90% Confidence Interval
Actual
2006
3.25
399
347-457
432
2007
3.25
405
354-463
387
2008
4.25
498
447-555
407
2009
4.25
445
394-502
458
2010
3.25
301
260-347
286
 
Studies have shown that seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities. Although the reduction in the risk of fatal injury from wearing seat belts is higher for light-truck occupants at 50%, the lower figure for passenger car occupants is used in the calculations here as the more conservative measure. The most recent data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicate that seat belt use by fatally injured passenger car and light truck occupants was 44.8%. Based on this information it is estimated that 149 person’s lives may be saved this New Year’s Day holiday period because they will wear their safety belts and an additional 101 lives could be saved if all wore safety belts.
 
The average number of traffic fatalities during the six most recent 4.25 day New Year’s Day holiday periods was 18.2% greater than similar non-holiday periods (489 vs. 413 deaths). The difference is statistically significant at the .05 level.
 
Details of the estimating methodology and further discussion can be viewed here.
 
The terms used in the above discussions were chosen carefully to reflect the level of accuracy of the quantities involved. Estimate is used because the fatality figures are calculated approximately, as opposed to the precision of calculation inferred by the use of the word predict. May is used to indicate the figures express a contingency, whereas will is used to express something that may be expected or is supposed to occur.
 
 
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