NSC: 750 people may die in traffic crashes over Christmas and New Year’s holidays
Itasca, IL — An estimated 350 people will never make it home during the Christmas holiday weekend, and another 400 over New Year’s weekend, because of fatal – and preventable – traffic crashes, according to the National Safety Council.
Impairment is a major factor. In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, 39% of the traffic deaths over the Christmas holiday and 49% of the traffic deaths during the New Year’s holiday involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
“There is a reason December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, because it can take just one drink for someone you know and love to lose their life driving home,” said Jenny Burke, vice president of impairment practice at NSC. “Designate a sober driver, stay overnight or arrange alternative transportation; do your part to keep yourself and others safe.”
In addition to alcohol, drugs – including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines – can impair driving by causing drowsiness, altering visual functions, and affecting mental judgment and motor skills. Other factors, such as fatigue and stress, can impair your ability to drive, too.
- Avoid distracted driving, including hands-free cellphone use.
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Sign a “New Driver Deal” with teen drivers at DriveitHOME.org.
- Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them at MyCarDoesWhat.org.
- Check your vehicle for recalls at ChecktoProtect.org. (Repairs are free.)
“Everyone deserves the right to return home safely, and as a nation, we must do better — for our families, for our friends, for ourselves, for all road users,” Burke said.