The annual national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization, Dec. 10-31, comes at a particularly dangerous time of year for roadway users. On average, more than 800 people die in vehicle crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December.

NSC Predicts Almost 700 Holiday Weekend Road Deaths

"Safety is the greatest gift you can give, not only to your family but to those who share the roads with you," said NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman. "Paying attention, slowing down, and driving sober can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it home for the holidays."

Highway deaths during this year's Christmas and New Year's holiday weekends combined could total almost 700, the National Safety Council estimates. NSC said the Christmas period may cost 314 people their lives on the roadways and the three-day New Year's weekend another 364. The council estimates 37,200 may be seriously injured on the roads during the Christmas holiday and another 41,900 during the New Year's holiday.

"Safety is the greatest gift you can give, not only to your family but to those who share the roads with you," said NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman. "Paying attention, slowing down, and driving sober can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it home for the holidays."

NSC's tips for safely navigating the holidays are:

  • Wear a seat belt on every trip. About 160 lives will be lost over the holidays because people are not buckled up.
  • Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age, and weight.
  • 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.
  • Don't allow teens to drive with their friends.
  • Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them.

The Christmas period lasts from 6 p.m. Dec. 23 through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 26, while the New Year's period is from 6 p.m. Dec. 30 to 11:59 p.m. Jan. 2.

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