National Safety Council Estimates 433 Traffic Deaths this Thanksgiving Holiday Period

National Safety Council Estimates 433 Traffic Deaths this Thanksgiving Holiday Period

Defensive driving can prevent crashes, save lives

​Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council estimates 433 people will be killed and another 52,300 will be seriously injured in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period,[i] which begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. The four-day period falls near the end of what the Council estimates has been a particularly deadly year on the roads. Preliminary NSC estimates indicate traffic deaths are up 10% through the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same time period in 2014.

"Each Thanksgiving, we begin another holiday season while remembering all we are grateful for," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "But do not let the frenetic pace of the season rush you on the roads. Be alert and drive defensively so you can celebrate at home, not sit in the emergency room."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 87% of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. The 13% of drivers and passengers who do not buckle up accounted for 44.7% of fatalities in 2013, according to NHTSA. The Council estimates 164 lives may be saved this Thanksgiving holiday because of seat belts. NSC recommends buckling up every trip, every time – even when traveling a short distance.

Other tips to ensure a safer Thanksgiving holiday include:

  • Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
  • Do not allow teens to drive with their friends; a single young passenger can increase a teen driver's fatal crash risk 44 percent [ii]  
  • Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them; My Car Does What can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras

Supplemental traffic fatality estimates information can be found here.


About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council,, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.


[i] According to NSC analysis. "Serious injuries" are classified as those requiring medical attention.
[ii] According to Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

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