KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - November 18, 2010) - With the holidays upon us and millions of Americans hitting the roads, area law enforcement agencies want everyone to arrive safely at their destinations and are reminding drivers and passengers alike to Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time. 

"Many of us over-indulge in holiday goodies and loosen our belts a little after dinner," said Romell Cooks, Regional Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Region 7. "But remember, there's nothing that should keep you from buckling your seat belt when you get in a motor vehicle. The potential consequences are just too great."

While seat belt use is at a record high of 83 percent nationwide, 45 million Americans still fail to buckle up when they get in a motor vehicle. According to statistics from the NHTSA, on any given day about 38 people who are not buckled up are killed in motor vehicle crashes. 

In 2008 alone, nearly 13,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants lost their lives on U.S. roadways. It is estimated that nearly one third of these lives could have been saved if they had been properly belted. NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens; young adults; males; nighttime riders; motorists traveling on rural roads; and individuals traveling in pickup trucks.

The 2008 Thanksgiving holiday season was no different, from Monday, November 17, to Monday, December 1st, 1,120 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Tragically, more than half of those killed were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, where restraint use was known.

"The message that seat belts save lives is getting through to people and fewer and fewer are dying each year," said Ms. Cooks. "But sadly, there are still too many people who fail to heed the warning and ignore the evidence that failure to buckle up can turn the happiest of holidays into a nightmare."

According to NHTSA, regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect yourself and those you love and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

For more information about highway safety during Thanksgiving, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

Contact Information:

For information:
Ginny Vineyard