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For Immediate Release,
Contact:
Kathy Lane
Communications Director
(630) 775-2307
kathy.lane@nsc.org
 
The 2012 Thanksgiving Day holiday period begins at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 21, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, November 25. The NSC estimate of traffic fatalities for this 4.25-day holiday period is 451 deaths with a 90% confidence interval (C.I.) of 384 to 528 deaths. Nonfatal medically consulted injuries, i.e. injuries serious enough that a medical professional was consulted, are estimated at 48,300 with a range of 41,100 to 56,500. The Thanksgiving Day holiday period is always 4.25 days in length. The estimated fatality total for 2012 is 12% less than the average actual number of fatalities (512) that occurred during the previous six Thanksgiving Day holiday periods for which data are available. An evaluation of recent Thanksgiving Day holiday period estimates is presented in Table 1.
 
Table 1. Evaluation of Recent Thanksgiving Day Holiday Period Estimates
Year
Estimate
90% Confidence Interval
Actual
2005
610
505-735
605
2006
555
500-615
623
2007
564
499-635
542
2008
479
415-551
484
2009
447
392-508
401
2010
441
378-513
417
 
Studies have shown that seat belts, when used, are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front-seat passenger car occupants. 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 165 person’s lives may be saved this Thanksgiving Day holiday period because they will wear their safety belts and an additional 112 lives could be saved if all wore safety belts.
 
The average number of traffic fatalities during the six most recent Thanksgiving Day holiday periods was 9.8% higher than similar non-holiday periods (512 vs. 466 deaths). The difference is not statistically significant.
 

The terms used in the above discussion 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.

Details of the estimating methodology and a discussion of holiday deaths can be viewed here.
 
Click It or Ticket
The Thanksgiving Holiday "Click It or Ticket" campaign, running from Nov. 12-26, raises awareness and continues to reduce safety belt fatalities on America's roads. Safety belts are the most effective safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives. Remember to wear your safetybelt this Thanksgiving as law enforcement agencies across the country are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up. Buckle up, every trip, every time, every vehicle, every position.
 
To learn more about the "Click It or Ticket" campaign and to help spread the word, click here.
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