As millions of travelers flood the roads this Thanksgiving, the Monterey Park Police Department is partnering with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and law enforcement across the state to share an important lifesaving reminder, “Buckle Up–Every Trip. Every Time.”
During the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, 301 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and 53 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). California accounted for 42 of those fatalities. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night nationally. Much like drunk driving, these deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America. Many of these deaths could have been completely prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.
“Year after year, families are devastated when news arrives that a loved one is killed on their way to Thanksgiving festivities,” said Monterey Park Police Chief Jim Smith. “These stories are just unacceptable when over 50 percent of the deaths involve an unrestrained occupant. Especially when it’s known that seat belt use is one of the simplest ways to stay safe while riding in a vehicle.”
NHTSA estimates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal and serious injuries. In 2015, approximately 13,941 people survived crashes because they were buckled up. If everyone had worn their seat belts that year, an additional 2,804 lives could have been saved. NHTSA’s research also reveals that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females in a fatal crash, and younger drivers are also at greater risk of being unbuckled.
The Monterey Park Police Department’s goal for the “Buckle Up‑Every Trip. Every Time” seat belt awareness campaign is to save lives. This campaign reminds Thanksgiving travelers, and all drivers about the importance of buckling up–every trip, every time. Thanksgiving should be a happy time, not a tragic one.
Additionally, OTS statewide data reveals that of the 42 killed during the Thanksgiving weekend, 18 were alcohol involved deaths. While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the Monterey Park Police Department supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.
Never drink and drive and whether you’re a passenger or the driver, riding long distances or short, buckle your seat belt. Doing so ensures everyone arrives safely to their Thanksgiving destinations. Remember: “Buckle Up–Every Trip. Every Time.”
Sergeant David Elliott, Monterey Park Police Department