NTSB Chairman Emphasizes Safety During Memorial Day Weekend

With Memorial Day weekend opening the summer travel season, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker is encouraging all Americans to enjoy a safer summer by keeping a few simple precautions in mind.

While the vast majority of motorists arrive safely at their destinations, NTSB says on average, more than 100 people die every day on U.S. roads in traffic accidents. During a holiday weekend, that number can spike considerably, NTSB added. "Those traveling by car should do their part to make the Memorial Day weekend and summer safer by doing three things," Rosenker said. "First, don't put yourself or others in danger by combining alcohol with driving; second, always buckle your seatbelt and secure little ones in age-appropriate child restraints, even for short trips; and third, don't continue to drive when tired. Many fatigued drivers who drift to sleep during road trips never wake up."

Rosenker also noted that motorcycle operators and passengers can significantly enhance their own safety just by wearing a motorcycle helmet every time they ride. "If every rider donned a helmet, the number of riders losing their lives or sustaining serious head injuries in accidents would decline substantially," he said. "I strongly encourage all riders to protect themselves with this crucial piece of equipment."

Rosenker also emphasized the importance of the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) for recreational boaters. Every year more than 700 boaters die on U.S. waterways, and about 70 percent of those are by drowning. Most of those that drowned were in small boats--those less than 21 feet long. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the use of a personal flotation device (PFD) would have prevented at least 80 percent of those drowning deaths. Rosenker reminds Americans that "the use of a PFD is the single-most effective measure people can take to enhance their safety while enjoying recreational boating activities."

While accident statistics define the scope of the challenges to transportation safety, Rosenker said that everyone can make a difference. "In the last 10 years alone we have lost more than 400,000 Americans on the nation's roadways, and more than 7,000 in boating accidents. We must reduce these numbers," he implored. "Too many families endure the tragedy of an accidental death during the summer travel season. I encourage everyone to travel smart by taking a few simple precautions that can make a big difference in personal safety."

To view NTSB's Safety Alert on motorcycle safety, visit www.ntsb.gov/alerts/SA_012.pdf.

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