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Public Safety: Buckle up every trip, every time

Wednesday, November 26, 2008Motorists urged to drive safely, especially at Thanksgiving

JOHNSON CITY—The Thanksgiving holiday should be a joyous time for all families in America, but far too often the celebration turns to tragedy on the nation’s highways. And law enforcement agencies are trying to get the word out about highway safety once again.

“I urge everyone driving this holiday period to drive carefully, don’t drive impaired, and, most importantly, buckle up each and every trip, night or day,” said Officer Jerry Hughes of East Tennessee State University’s Department of Public Safety.

During the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2006, some 457 passenger vehicle occupants across the nation died in traffic crashes, with about 40 percent of the deaths (188) occurring during daylight hours.

Hughes says night time is always dangerous for those on the road because of the lower rate of seat belt use. Of 266 night-time Thanksgiving deaths in 2006, well over half of the people (138) died with their seat belts unfastened; and almost half of the day-time victims were not wearing their seat belts.

“Losing a loved one is a terrible experience, especially during America’s family holiday season, but losing a life when it might have been saved by taking two seconds to buckle a seat belt is truly senseless,” said Hughes.

Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

“Those who fail to buckle up during this holiday period run the risk of getting a ticket, or worse, being injured or killed,” Hughes said. “Make sure the only belt unbuckled this Thanksgiving holiday is the one you’re wearing at the dinner table, not the one in a vehicle!”

For more information about highway safety, please visit


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