Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, placing more people on the road and, unfortunately, increasing the likelihood of car crashes. Each year, tens of thousands of people across the country die in motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, more than 300 people were killed in crashes on Thanksgiving weekend alone.
The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 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 belted.
Also in 2013, a total of 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in car crashes and almost half of those occupants (49%) were not belted. During Thanksgiving weekend 2013 ( 6 p.m Wendesday, November 27, to 5:59 am Monday, December 2), a disturbing 58 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. At night, the statistic was even worse: 64 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 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities where restraint use was known, the age groups 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 had the highest percentage (55%) of occupants killed who were unrestrained.
NHTSA data also reveals that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash. Fifty-four percent of the males killed in crashes in 2013 were not buckled up, as compared to 41 percent for females. Right now, the overall seat belt use rate in the United States is 87 percent, which is a major increase over the 79-percent use rate in 2003, but there is still a lot of room for further gains.
During your travels this Thanksgiving weekend, as well as every other day, be sure to buckle up before you start any road trip. Seat belts do save lives.
If you or a loved one are involved in a car wreck over the holiday weekend, or at any time, the car accident lawyers at the Manchin Injury Law Group can help. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us.