Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for motorists, especially unbelted ones – day and night. Make sure the only belt unbuckled is at your Thanksgiving dinner table and not in your vehicle, whether you’re traveling during the day or at night.
National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) Facts:
- During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday travel season, 303 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Of those, 52 percent were unrestrained, based on known restraint use. (The 2009 Thanksgiving’s holiday period was from 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, November 30.)
- During the Thanksgiving holiday travel season in 2009, 115 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes occurring during daytime hours (6 a.m. – 5:59 p.m.) nationwide. Of those, 49 percent were unrestrained, based on known
- During the Thanksgiving holiday travel season in 2009, 187 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes occurring during nighttime hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) nationwide. Of those, 54 percent were unrestrained, based on known restraint use.
Even though Michigan is a “primary law State” where laws for seatbelts are higher and occupants can be pulled over and “ticketed” for not wearing their seatbelt, there are still a great number of occupants not buckling up “every trip, every time”. Wearing your seatbelt can reduce your risk of dying in a crash by about half. The safest place for children of any age is to ride in the back seat properly restrained. For more information on child restraints, go to http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Child_Passenger_Safety/ .
Celebrate safely by taking steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Plan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any celebration begins.
- Take the keys. Don’t let friends/family drive if they are impaired.
- Be a helpful host. Remind guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure everyone leaving has a sober driver.
By bringing awareness and promoting injury prevention throughout the community, I encourage you to make some behavioral changes by taking steps to stay safe on our roadways, not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year. Please remember to buckle up, remind passengers to buckle up, drive sober and have a safe and happy holiday.
Rhonda Thompson, RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator, Botsford Hospital Trauma Services, 28050 Grand River, Farmington Hills, MI 48336. (248) 888-2586. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Buckle Up America” is a campaign tool provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.