Fatalities during the holiday season should be significantly lower than a year ago, according to the National Safety Council. - Photo via Pixabay.

Fatalities during the holiday season should be significantly lower than a year ago, according to the National Safety Council.

Photo via Pixabay.

An estimated 278 people could lose their lives in traffic collisions on Christmas Day and New Year's Day — a significant decrease from the estimated 860 for Christmas 2018 and New Year’s 2019, according to the National Safety Council.

The lower figures may be due to the fact that Christmas falls on a Wednesday, making it a shorter holiday period than the typical multiple-day holiday period.

Specifically, the council predicts that some 115 people will be killed in crashes during this year's one-day Christmas Day driving period and an additional 163 fatalities will occur on New Year's Day. 

Moreover, the latest data suggest that some 13,100 people may be seriously injured in crashes over the Christmas holiday period, while 18,600 may be seriously injured over New Year’s.

In 2018, actual fatalities for the Christmas Day holiday driving period were 380. Data for New Year's Day 2019 is not available.

Noteworthy, seat belts could save as many as 245 lives this holiday season, according to the council.

Studies show that with proper use, seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front-seat passenger car occupants. In fact, an estimated 101 lives may be saved this Christmas Day holiday period because vehicle occupants wear their safety belts. An additional 27 lives could be saved if everyone wears safety belts.

The Christmas Day holiday period varies from 1.25 to 4.25 days in length, depending on which day of the week the holiday falls. In 2019, Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday, so the holiday period is 1.25 days and extends from 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24, to 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 25.

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