Sheriff's Office urges holiday travelers to wear seat belts

Friday, November 16, 2012

CARROLL COUNTY -- The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office wants to remind all travelers, whether they're traveling across the country or just across town, that one of the best ways to ensure a safe arrival is to buckle up, every trip, every time.

"During the long Thanksgiving travel weekend, many more people than usual are on the roads visiting family and friends," said Sheriff Bob Grudek. "And we want to alert everyone that perhaps the single best thing they can do to save lives and protect themselves and their passengers on our roadways is to insist on the regular and proper use of their seat belts."

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives nationwide during 2010 alone. In fact, research shows that the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent, when seat beats are worn correctly.

Yet, too many people are still not getting the message. Fifty-one percent of the 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2010 were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.

"It's a simple step that each of us can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Yet, too many people are still not buckling up -- especially in the hustle and bustle of holiday travel," said Carroll County Sheriff's Lt. Michael Zimmerman.

During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday (which ran from 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 24, to 5:59 a.m., Monday, November 29) 337 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 55 percent of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash.

"Unfortunately, the overnight hours prove to be the most dangerous on our nation's roadways, not only during the Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year," said Zimmerman.

Nationally in 2010, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the overnight hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64 percent of nighttime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants, while only 41 percent of daytime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants.

"Every day of the year, but especially during more dangerous travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday and at nighttime, we are working hard to remind everyone to always buckle up," Grudek said. "Seat belts save lives, so please buckle up, every trip, every time, and so you can give thanks this holiday season and enjoy the time with your loved ones."

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.

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