GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The GRPD is joining in a national effort to reach out to all Thanksgiving travelers with one important message: buckle up. Thanksgiving is a busy travel time of the year, putting more people on the road, and unfortunately increasing the likelihood of crashes. Each year in our country, tens of thousands of passenger-vehicle occupants die in motor-vehicle crashes. In 2013, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone. It’s a sad statistic, but even more sad is that many of those deaths could have been prevented with one simple click of a seat belt.
The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that proper seat-belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent. In 2013, approximately 12,584 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 2,800 lives could have been saved.
Almost half of the 21,132 passenger-vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013, 49 percent, were not buckled up. On Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, a disturbing 58 percent — that is, nearly 6 out of 10 — of the passenger-vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. Sixty-four percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled.
Younger drivers are the most likely to be unbuckled in a fatal crash. In 2013, among fatalities where restraint use was known, the age groups 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 had the highest percentage, 55 percent, of occupants killed who were unrestrained.
So this Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, make sure your seat belt is buckled before you start any road trip—whether it’s one mile or a thousand.
For more information about traveling during Thanksgiving, visit www.nhtsa.gov.