The National Safety Council estimates that 308 people may be killed and 35,400 may be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Christmas holiday period.
Additionally, the NSC expects as many as 356 fatalities and 40,900 injuries during the New Year's holiday period. The Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 25. The New Year's holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.
With preventable deaths at an all-time high, the NSC said it's calling for states to take actions to reduce safety risks — particularly on roads.
“Safety is the greatest gift you can give, not only to your family but to those who share the roads with you,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Buckling up, paying attention, slowing down and driving sober can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it home for the holidays.”
The NSC encourages states to take such measures as implementing sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlocks for first-time and repeat DUI offenders, banning open containers, and automatically revoking licenses for more than 90 days for drivers with blood alcohol levels above .08 or those who refuse to test.
The National Safety Council also pointed out that impaired driving is a factor in more than 10,000 deaths annually, so drivers need to refrain from consuming alcohol or drugs prior to getting behind the wheel.
Additional tips for safe travel this holiday season include:
- Remember, drugged driving is impaired driving. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org to learn about the scope of the prescription opioid crisis.
- Designate a sober driver or arrange for alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink.
- Buckle up on every trip and in every seating position. Seat belts could save 257 lives between each holiday period.
- Make sure children are properly restrained in safety seats appropriate for their height and weight.
- Avoid distracted driving, even hands-free.
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Sign a new driver deal with teen drivers at DriveitHOME.org.
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them at MyCarDoesWhat.org.
- Check your vehicle for recalls at ChecktoProtect.org.