NSC: 417 people may be killed on U.S. roads over Thanksgiving holiday

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Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council estimates 417 people may be killed and another 47,500 may be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday period. Compared with last year, the fatality estimate is down nearly 4%, which is in line with an estimated drop in overall motor vehicle deaths in the United States.

Because the day before Thanksgiving is known for its high volume of both travel and alcohol consumption, NSC is warning drivers to be particularly vigilant at the start of the holiday period, which runs from 6 p.m. on Nov. 27, to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1. The council also advises drivers not to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs; similar to alcohol, the consumption of marijuana and opioid painkillers can impact judgment, reflexes and cognitive dexterity, increasing the risk of death and injury.

Alcohol is a persistent factor in fatal crashes. Historical trends show that – on average – more than one-third of vehicle-related deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period involve alcohol-impaired drivers.

“Thanksgiving should be a time for family gatherings and good food, not the tragedy that a car crash can bring,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in a Nov. 20 press release. “Let’s work to keep each other safe this holiday by planning ahead and avoiding impaired driving. Making smart decisions will help protect all of us as we travel for celebrations and other activities.”