The number of people who will lose their lives in roadway crashes during this year's holiday period is expected to increase significantly from a year ago, according to estimates provided by the National Safety Council.
The council predicts an estimated 422 crash deaths during the Christmas holiday period and another 438 traffic fatalities over the New Year's holiday weekend. In addition, some 48,100 and 49,900 people may be seriously injured in collisions on the two holiday periods, respectively.
It's predictions would represent a sharp increase from a year ago, when 299 people died in crashes during Christmas. The council had estimated 308 deaths. For New Year's a year ago, there were 364 deaths following an estimate of 329 by the council.
Commercial drivers should be extra cautious behind the wheel during the holiday season. Specifically, the Christmas holiday period kicks-off at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25. The New Year's holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1.
The council recommends that all drivers keep safety top-of-mind. Fleet drivers should stay alert for other motorists who may be driving while fatigued or impaired after holiday celebrations. In addition, drivers should make sure to respect speed limits, avoid distractions, take breaks when feeling drowsy, and always wear a seatbelt.
Finally, wintry weather can make driving during the holiday even more challenging. In fact, over 200,000 collisions a year occur in winter weather conditions, making safe driving practices all the more critical during the holiday season.