Remember to wear your seat belt this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks one of the busiest travel periods of the year for Nashville area communities. The increased amount of traffic to family gatherings and Black Friday shopping events means that the possibility of car accidents is also increased. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a reminder that the best way to avoid suffering severe personal injuries or death during a car accident is to wear a seat belt.

"Seat belts have saved more lives than any other single piece of automotive safety equipment," a NHTSA official said. "But in order for them to work, they have to be used. This Thanksgiving, and every day and night of the year, make sure you buckle up your seat belt and you'll have the opportunity to unbuckle that other belt at the feast table with your family and friends."

Regular seat belt use is the most effective way to stay safe during a car accident. Crash statistics show that seat belt use lowers the risk of car accident fatalities for front seat passengers by 45 percent and lowers the number of serious personal injuries by up to 50 percent. Over 300 people died in car accidents during the 2009 Thanksgiving travel season and about half of these fatalities involved car passengers that were not buckled up.

"There is no holiday more closely associated with the American family, or with American travel, than Thanksgiving," said a traffic safety expert. "But if you hit the highways unbelted, the faces you could be seeing this Holiday might belong to an emergency room physician or nurse instead of the faces of your family and friends."

Source: NHTSA, "Thanksgiving Weekend," Nov. 20, 2011

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