Christmas Holiday Period Could be Deadliest on Roads Since 2009

The National Safety Council's tips can make holiday travelers' trips safer.

The National Safety Council estimates 307 people will be killed and 37,200 are seriously injured in traffic crashes during the three-day Christmas holiday period. That number is the highest estimate since 2009. NSC also estimates 346 will be killed and 41,900 seriously injured during the upcoming three-day New Year's holiday.

"Too many celebrations are marred by tragedies during the holiday season," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "When you are traveling, remember that you are your car's most important safety feature. Getting to zero deaths on our roadways requires each of us to be safer behind the wheel."

NSC's tips for safer travel include these:

  • Wear a seat belt on every trip.
  • Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even a hands-free phone.
  • Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver's fatal crash risk by 44 percent.
  • Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them.

According to preliminary NSC estimates, U.S. traffic deaths are up significantly through the first 10 months of 2015 compared with the same time period during 2014.

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