This is the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s theme for Thanksgiving season, beginning November 16th and going through November 29th. Law enforcement agencies will be cracking down, coast to coast, day or night, to enforce one of their main objectives: seat belt use. During the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday period, (November 26 to December 1st) of the 231 passenger vehicle occupant deaths that occurred in crashes at night, two-thirds, or 67% did not have their seat belts fastened (where seat belt use was known). Forty per cent of the 156 daytime fatalities during that period were not wearing their seat belts. The NHTSA says that regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
Several states have passed laws requiring passengers in back seats to also buckle up. Drivers and passengers should be aware when they head out for the holiday (or any other time), that “Click It or Ticket” is a certainty if they are caught unbuckled. Statistics show that nighttime is the most dangerous time on the road because seat belt use is lower. Chances of death to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45% and the risk of moderate to serious injury is lowered 50% when lap and shoulder belt are used correctly, so why take the chance?
Along with the NHTSA, we want to share our hopes that you always use caution and follow the law when driving, especially during the holiday season, which begins November 16 and concludes January 3rd. Don’t drive impaired, don’t speed, use cell phones with care, and please don’t text while driving. Keep those youngsters buckled up properly and see that you all arrive at your celebrations safely.
We especially liked a couple of many posters the NHTSA has as part of their campaign:
“Forty-five million turkeys will die for Thanksgiving Day – Don’t be one of them!”
and “Make sure the only belt left unbuckled this Thanksgiving is the one at the dinner table, not the one in your vehicle.”