Buckle Up This Thanksgiving

Ponca City Now - November 20, 2015 1:27 pm

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is joining in 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. Each year in our country, tens of thousands of passenger vehicle occupants die in motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, more than 300 people were killed in crashes in the U.S. on Thanksgiving weekend alone. It’s a sad statistic, but even more sad is that many of those deaths could have been prevented with one simple click of a seat belt.

“More than half the drivers and passengers being killed in crashes aren’t wearing seat belts. That’s a major problem,” said Toby Taylor, Interim Director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

In 2013, a total of 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes, and almost half (49%) of those occupants were not buckled up. Thanksgiving weekend in 2013 (6 p.m. Wednesday, November 27, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, December 2), a disturbing 58 percent—that is, nearly 6 out of 10—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.

“For those people who already buckle up every time: Thank you,” Taylor said. “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.

 

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