Department of Highways, District 11
Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time.

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, November 22, 2005  
Contact Information:  SANDY RUDDER
(606) 598-2145

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects as many as 567 highway fatalities could occur nationwide during the heavily-traveled 2005 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving weekend kicks off one of the nation’s busiest travel seasons of the year, as families and friends begin to gather for the first of many year-end holidays.   Check for 2004 data

That is why the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet/Department of Highways District 11 is joining with other national, State and local highway safety and law enforcement officials this Thanksgiving to strongly remind all holiday travelers, drivers and passengers to always buckle up – every trip, every time.

“Safety belts clearly save lives,” said Greene L. Keith, District 11 Chief District Engineer. “But unfortunately too many Americans still put themselves at great risk by not always buckling up.  We are reminding families this Thanksgiving to be sure to tighten their safety belts both before and after their big holiday dinner.”

Although a record 82 percent of Americans now wear their safety belts while riding or driving in vehicles, up from 58 percent in 1994, too many people still do not.  According to NHTSA, 31,693 passenger vehicle occupants died in crashes during 2004 – and more than half of those killed were NOT wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash. 

“Too many people, especially teens, young male drivers (age 18 to 34) and pickup truck drivers still take the attitude ‘It will never happen to me,’” said Mr. Keith.  “That’s why 
we are reminding everyone that safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect yourself, as well as those you love, in a crash.”

Thanksgiving is also a good time to remember that children must always be properly restrained in moving vehicles.  Although 99 percent of all American infants – under age 1 – are now restrained, older children also need to be in the appropriate restraint and properly installed for their size and age.  Unfortunately, 8 out of 10 child restraints are improperly installed.

One study showed that children who are moved from child safety seats to the regular vehicle safety belts too soon are four times more likely to sustain a serious head injury in a crash than those who are correctly restrained in child safety seats or booster seats.  The easiest way to remember is, “If they are under 4’9” they need to be in a booster seat.”
 “Thanksgiving is a great time to remind all family members at the table to Buckle Up-Every Trip, Every Time,” said Sandy Rudder, Public Information Officer.