• October 25th, 2021

The Thanksgiving holiday is the kickoff to the busiest season of the year. With all the rushing around and holiday travel, it’s a great time to remind motor vehicle drivers and passengers to buckle their seat belts. To keep drivers and their passengers safe, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sharing an important lifesaving reminder: Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time. Review these statistics for an eye-opening look at the impact seat belts can have on your safety.

  • Thanksgiving weekend, millions of Americans will hit the roads, eager to spend time with family and friends. It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, that means more crashes.
  • NHTSA is reminding everyone that seat belts save lives. Buckling up gives you your best defense against injury or death in a crash.
  • In 2018, there were 22,697 passenger vehicle occupants (in passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, or SUVs) killed in traffic crashes in the United States. Almost half (47%) of those who were killed were not wearing seat belts.
  • NHTSA estimates that seat belts saved the lives of 14,995 passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older in 2017, according to the latest data available. If everyone had worn their seat belts on every trip that year, an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved.
  • The facts don’t lie: When you wear your seat belt as a front-seat occupant of a passenger car, your risk of fatal injury goes down by 45%. For light-truck occupants, that risk is reduced by 60%.

Make this Thanksgiving different from years past.

  • During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2018 (6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21, to 5:59 a.m. on Monday, November 26), there were 291 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation.
  • Nighttime is deadlier than daytime in terms of seat belt use. Over the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend, 54% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night were unbuckled, compared to 42% during the day.
  • Younger people continue to be overrepresented in fatal crashes and seat belt nonuse. Among the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2018, occupants ages 21-24 and 25-34 were unrestrained at a rate of 58% and 60%, respectively.
  • Males are more likely than females to be unrestrained in fatal crashes. More than half (52%) of the male passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2018 were unrestrained, compared with 39% of females.
  • If you’re ejected from a vehicle in a crash, odds are that you will not survive. In 2018, 8 out of 10 (82%) of the people totally ejected from vehicles in crashes were killed. Wearing your seat belt is the most effective way to prevent ejection; only 1% of occupants wearing seat belts were ejected in fatal crashes, compared to 27% of those who were unrestrained.
  • Surviving your Thanksgiving drive this year — and making it to next Thanksgiving — can be as simple as buckling up. In the last decade, seat belts have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people in the United States. Those people are thankful they wore their seat belts. Won’t you wear yours? Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.

Drive safely this Thanksgiving. For more information, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/seat-belts/buckle/thanksgiving-weekend.


View the “Thanksgiving – Buckle Up” TSM marketing materials here.