NSC Urges Road Safety During Thanksgiving Travel

"Everyone wants a holiday to remember, but not for the wrong reasons," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Let's keep our holiday gatherings out of the emergency room by making smart decisions that don't involve drinking and driving. Plan ahead so you don't put yourself or others at risk on the road."

The National Safety Council is urging extra caution on the roads for Thanksgiving travel this year, as it was the second-deadliest holiday on the roads in 2017. NSC estimates 433 people may be killed and another 49,400 may be seriously injured in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period. On average, more than one-third of deaths during this period have historically involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

The council is warning drivers to be especially aware and careful during the holiday period, which runs from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. Nov. 21 requires special caution because it typically involves high volumes of both travel and alcohol consumption.

"Everyone wants a holiday to remember, but not for the wrong reasons," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Let's keep our holiday gatherings out of the emergency room by making smart decisions that don't involve drinking and driving. Plan ahead so you don't put yourself or others at risk on the road."

Because preventable deaths are at an all-time high, NSC has asked states to take actions to reduce residents' risks, especially on the roads. The NSC State of Safety report encourages states to implement proven risk-reduction methods such as using sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlocks for first-time and repeat offenders, the banning of open containers, and automatically revoking licenses for more than 90 days for drivers whose BAC levels are above .08 or those who refuse to have their BAC levels tested.

In addition to not driving while alcohol-impaired, the NSC recommends the following trips for safe travel:

  • Use your seat belt on every trip, no matter where you sit in the car.
  • Make sure children are properly restrained in the appropriate car seats for their height, weight, and age.
  • Drive attentively and don't use cell phones—even hands-free phone use is risky.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks from driving to avoid fatigue.
  • Understand how opioid pain relievers may affect safe driving ability by visiting StopEverydayKillers.org.
  • Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how they work at MyCarDoesWhat.org.
  • Check your vehicle for recalls at CheckToProtect.org.
  • Advocate for safer roads by joining the Road to Zero Coalition.

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