EUSTIS — The Thanksgiving holiday should be a joyous time for all Lake County families, but far too often the celebration turns to tragedy on the roads.
“I urge everyone driving on our roads this holiday period to drive carefully, don’t drive impaired and, most importantly, buckle up each and every trip, night or day,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairman of the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2006, 457 passenger vehicle occupants died nationwide in motor-vehicle crashes, including 188 during daylight hours and 266 at night (the time of day for three deaths was unknown). Nighttime is one of the more dangerous times on the road because seatbelt use is lower. Of the 266 deaths nationwide during the 2006 Thanksgiving holiday, more than half of the vehicle occupants were not wearing seatbelts.
“To lose a loved one is a terrible thing to experience, especially during this family holiday, but to lose one’s life when it might have been saved by taking two seconds to buckle a seatbelt is truly senseless,” Olasimbo said.
Regular seatbelt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor-vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.
“If you fail to buckle up during this holiday period, you run the risk of getting a ticket, or worse, getting killed or injured,” Olasimbo said.
For more information about driving safety during the Thanksgiving holiday, log on to www.nhtsa.gov.