From 2012 to 2016, over 800 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Refrain from drinking and driving to avoid a fatal car accident.

Thanksgiving should be a time for a family celebration, a time to relax and visit with those you may not have seen in a while. However, for hundreds of people each year, what starts out as a festive holiday turns tragic. According to one national safety organization, 2018 is not projected to be any different from previous years.

Thanksgiving Travel Dangerous for Highway Drivers

Thanksgiving has arrived, and for millions of people, that means loading up the family vehicle and heading out to visit family and friends. When it comes to traffic safety, the Thanksgiving holiday period is officially from 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to 5:59 a.m. on the Monday following Thanksgiving. This year, the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 54 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving, with most going 50 miles or more away from home.

AAA notes that this is nearly a five percent increase from last year. When it comes to mode of transportation, the agency says predictions are that nearly 49 million of those traveling will do so by vehicle, cause for concern because, when it comes to travel and fatalities, vehicle crashes cause more deaths than any other mode of transportation. Research by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows those stark numbers. In 2014:

  • 21,014 people died in light-duty vehicles, which includes cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks
  • 28 people died in bus crashes
  • 5 people died in train accidents
  • And, no one was killed in 2014 in airline crashes

Even before this Thanksgiving holiday occurs, the NSC estimates 2018 will be no different than previous years. The NSC predicts there will be 433 traffic fatalities this upcoming holiday.

Drinking and driving make Thanksgiving one of the deadliest times of the year.

It should come as no surprise that drinking and driving, regardless of time of year, results in fatal auto accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when highlighting Thanksgiving from 2012 to 2016, over 800 people were killed in alcohol-related vehicle crashes. It should also come as no surprise that younger drivers are at a higher risk for this deadly habit, especially those who drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In 2016, 68 percent of those killed in crashes involving alcohol were between the ages of 16-34.

In addition to alcohol being a factor in accidents, officials also note that many of those killed were not only drinking and driving, they also weren’t wearing seatbelts. And, it wasn’t just the drivers unrestrained; statistics showed that 40 percent of the passengers killed in these crashes were not restrained.

Has your destination placed you at greater risk?

If you are traveling by car this holiday, you can check to see if the state you are traveling through, to, or from is among the safest or the most dangerous. The American Automobile Association has been tracking this information and has listed every state according to safety, even highlighting specific cities or counties that are safe or dangerous.

Colorado is among the safest states to travel through with Broomfield County, CO ranking among the top three safest areas to travel. Hopefully, everyone will do their part this Thanksgiving to keep themselves and others on the road as safe as possible by buckling up, refraining from all alcohol when driving, and avoiding all distractions. Please keep safe and here’s wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

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