Itasca, IL - The National Safety Council warns that more than 21,000 people may suffer disabling injuries and as many as 440 may die as a result of motor vehicle collisions over the upcoming New Year's weekend.
The statistics confirm that many of these serious injuries and deaths could be prevented if everyone wore seat belts. This year, NSC estimates that as many as 327 people may survive the holiday because they wore seatbelts. An additional 95 lives could be saved if everyone buckled up. New Year Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate, 2004-2005
Anyone taking to the roads should be aware that New Year's is one of the most deadly national holidays. The average number of New Year's traffic fatalities is nearly 17% greater than non-holiday weekends. In 2003, 61 percent of the New Year's traffic fatalities involved alcohol, as compared to about 40 percent for the entire year.For a safe and happy New Year, NSC recommends that anyone driving this weekend:
- Make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are in age- appropriate safety seats.
- Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed.
- Drive defensively and exercise caution especially during inclement weather.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Even moderate consumption of wine or beer impairs reaction time and driving judgment.
New Year's 2005 is considered a 3.25-day holiday weekend that begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2.
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.