The National Safety Council cautions drivers to buckle up and beware of impaired drivers during...

The National Safety Council cautions drivers to buckle up and beware of impaired drivers during the approaching holiday periods.

Photo via Strom.

An estimated 798 people will die in traffic collisions over the upcoming winter holidays — 371 during the Christmas holiday driving period, and another 427 during the New Year’s holiday driving period, reports the National Safety Council (NSC).

According to the NSC, the fatality rate could be far worse if seat belts did not exist. With the proper use of seat belts, some 500 people’s lives could be saved this holiday season, notes the organization.

Seat belts are estimated to save more than 310 lives over the same driving periods. In 2020, 90% of front seat passengers used seat belts. If 100% of seated occupants wear their seat belts, it’s estimated an additional 180 lives could be saved over the holidays.

Drunk driving is historically another roadway hazard over the holidays. Fleets driving during the holiday periods should be acutely aware of vehicles that veer in an out of their lanes or slow down and speed up suddenly — often the sign of an impaired driver.

Typically, alcohol is involved in 38% of fatalities during the Christmas Day holiday period and 36% of fatalities during the New Year's Day holiday period.

This year, the Christmas the holiday period runs from 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 23 to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, while the New Year’s holiday period extends from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. 

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