Itasca, IL – More than 600 people will die in motor vehicle crashes this holiday season, according to the National Safety Council. Take precautions during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods, which are among the busiest travel periods of the year – buckle up, drive defensively and do not drink and drive.
The council estimates 303 people will die and 29,400 people will be seriously injured in traffic crashes during the Christmas holiday period, from 6 p.m. Dec. 23 to midnight Dec. 26. However, safety belts could save the lives of 231 people during that same period, and an additional 79 lives could be saved if everyone wore safety belts.
During the New Year’s holiday period, from 6 p.m. Dec. 30 to midnight Jan. 2, 2011, an estimated 308 people will die and an additional 29,900 will be seriously injured in traffic crashes. Safety belts will save an estimated 235 people during this period, and an additional 80 lives could be saved if everyone wore safety belts.
Safety belts are the most effective form of protection in a motor vehicle crash. Wearing a safety belt can cut the risk of crash injuries in half. Buckling up helps you remain secure in a vehicle during a crash, as being thrown from one is almost always deadly.
Holiday parties are a time to eat, drink and be merry, but drunk driving can devastate the joyous holiday season. Last December, 753 people were killed in crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Do not drink and drive. Arrange for a sober driver or a cab if you plan to drink. Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m. – impaired drivers are more likely to be in multiple-vehicle crashes at night than during the day. Keep an eye out for cars that weave, straddle the center line, stop abruptly or make wide turns, as these are signs that the driver may be impaired. Be extra vigilant at intersections where impaired drivers might not stop.
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.