highway fatalities

This Holiday Week Can Take a Toll on Highway Safety

Dec. 23, 2017
More than 660 people may be killed and 76,000 injured on U.S. roads over the upcoming holidays.

With highway holiday travel anticipated to increase by 3 percent this year, more people than ever are taking to the nation’s highways and roads. The National Safety Council (NSC) is urging extra caution and sober driving during this year’s holiday season. 

The NSC estimates 308 people may be killed and 35,400 may be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Christmas holiday period. As many as 356 fatalities and 40,900 injuries are expected during the New Year’s holiday. The Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22 and ends at 11:59 p.m. 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.

“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.”

With preventable deaths at an all-time high, the council has called for states to take action to reduce risks – particularly when it comes to safety on the roads. Impaired driving is the greatest concern during the holidays, and is a factor in over 10,000 deaths annually. The NSC State of Safety report encourages states to implement proven measures to help reduce risk, including instituting sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlocks for first-time and repeat offenders, banning open containers or automatically revoking licenses for more than 90 days for drivers with blood alcohol levels above .08 or those who refuse to test.

Additional tips for safe travel include:

Supplemental traffic fatality estimates for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods can be found here.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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