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DOT & NHTSA Urge Seat Belt Usage for Thanksgiving

Connecticut DOT Launches Thanksgiving Seat Belt Campaign

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel periods in America, as millions enjoy the holiday with family all over the nation.  All of that extra traffic increases the odds of auto accidents, however, and the NHTSA is working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up and reduce the number of fatal accidents this year.

The Importance of Seat Belts

According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, 301 people in passenger vehicles died in accidents on Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 across the nation. As part of an attempt to combat this number, CT DOT is urging people to wear their seat belts for any travel, as this is a major contributing factor to fatal accidents. The victims of fatal accidents tend more toward males and the young, as do the number of passengers who choose not to buckle up. 52% of males killed in accidents in 2015 were not wearing seat belts, while this was only true of 42% of females killed. Likewise, among all fatal accidents of 2015, 57% of those killed in the 13-15 age range, and 58% of those in the 18-34 years range, were not wearing seat belts.

Driving at night increases these odds in general. Passenger vehicle occupants killed at night during the Thanksgiving weekend were unbuckled in 57% of cases in 2015 and 58% in 2014. In fatal accidents during the day, 49% were not wearing seat belts in 2015 and 38% in 2014.

Proper Seat Belt Usage

Proper seat belt usage helps to save lives and reduce injuries in the event of an auto accident. According to the NHTSA, seat belts serve to keep occupants in the vehicle during an auto accident and work with air bags to limit the impact of the crash on the body. It is important to remember that air bags are designed to work with seat belts rather than replacing them – their use can actually be fatal without a seat belt to slow the accident victim down. For seat belts to do their job, however, they need to be worn correctly. This means that any shoulder belt should cross over the shoulder and across the center of the chest, away from the neck. The lap belt should rest on the hips rather than the stomach. The NHTSA also provides resources for determining when children are ready to use seat belts instead of child seats, and how to use them properly.

Take the DOT’s advice and stay safe this Thanksgiving. Drive safely, be mindful of the impact traffic may have on travel plans, and remember that seat belts will go far in protecting everyone in your vehicle should an accident occur. And if you or a loved one suffer from an auto accident this season, the law offices of Salomone & Morelli are available to help you find justice.

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