(November 25, 2014) – The Ocean City Police Department is joining a national effort to reach out to all Thanksgiving travelers with one important message: buckle up. Historically, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, putting more people on the road, and unfortunately increasing the likelihood of crashes. AAA is expecting Thanksgiving holiday travel to reach the highest level since 2007 with 46.3 million Americans taking a trip this week. Each of the millions of holiday travelers can stay safe this Thanksgiving with just one simple click of a seat belt.
The 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 2012, approximately 12,174 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved. And that’s just the point of this national seat belt campaign: Buckle Up America – Every Trip, Every Time.
“More than half the drivers and passengers being killed in crashes aren’t wearing seat belts. That’s a major problem,” said Lt. Scott Harner, Commander of OCPD’s Traffic Safety Unit. In 2012, a total of 21,667 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes nationwide, so that means that more than 10,000 of those occupants were not buckled up. Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 (6 p.m. Wednesday, November 21, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, November 26), a disturbing 60 percent—that is, 6 out of 10—of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. At night, the statistic was even worse: 69 percent of the occupants killed at night were unbuckled.
“For those people who already buckle up every time: Thank you,” continued Lt. Harner. “For them, this campaign serves as a reminder. But for those people who still don’t buckle up for whatever reason, I want to say this: buckling your seat belt is one of the simplest, safest things you’ll ever do.”
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.