Thanksgiving Weekend

Seat Belt Fact Sheet

  • Millions of Americans will head “over the river and through the woods” to grandma’s house or to see other friends or family this Thanksgiving season.

  • Unfortunately, that means more crashes.

  • During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2016, (6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23rd, to 5 p.m. on Monday November 28th) there were 341 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes nationwide.

  • During the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night were unbuckled.

Buckles: Not Just for Pilgrim Hats

  • Here’s something to be thankful for: wearing a seat belt decreases the chance of dying or being seriously injured in a collision by about 70 percent.

  • Fatalities of un-belted drivers or passengers have dropped as seat belt use has increased.

  • Unrestrained fatalities have been reduced in half since 2005, when 208 people died in Washington, compared to 110 in 2016.

De-bunking a False Sense of Security

It’s easy to buy-in to common misperceptions of security (statistics below are national) that some use as a reason not to buckle up:

Size doesn’t Matter: If you’re not buckled, being in a pickup or other large vehicle isn’t safer. In fact, 61 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2016 were not buckled up. That’s compared to 42 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Big truck or small car, seat belts are the safest bet.

Back Seats Won’t Protect You (only seat belts can do that): Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-seven percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained, but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained. If you’re in the back, buckle-up.

Just as Important for Country and City Folk: People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in the U.S. in 2016, there were 13,732 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 9,366 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 46 percent in urban locations. Whether on busy city streets or a dusty rural road, buckle up to stay safe.

Buckle Up: You’ll be Thankful

  • In Washington, 95 percent of drivers and passengers use their seat belts according to a 2016 report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC).

  • The only belt you should loosen this Thanksgiving is the one around your pants after turkey dinner. Keep your seat belt securely fastened as you drive this holiday weekend.

  • Let’s get everyone to buckle-up, every trip, every time.