(LITTLE ROCK) - The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the busiest for Arkansas motorists and out of state travelers.
During the upcoming week-long holiday travel period Arkansas State Troopers will join with other state and local law enforcement officers nationwide to ensure drivers obey the rules of the road and motorists are buckled-up in their seat belts.
Motor vehicle crashes nationwide during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday reporting period (Wednesday, November 24th – Monday, November 29th) resulted in 337 passenger vehicle occupants being killed. A staggering 55 percent of the fatality victims were not wearing seat belts.
In Arkansas, during the same Thanksgiving travel period, 7 people lost their lives and 57 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
“Seat belts save lives and that’s why State Troopers and local law enforcement officers across Arkansas will participate in the national Click It or Ticket, Day and Night mobilization,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.
The Arkansas State Police will place additional State Troopers on the highway during the Thanksgiving holiday period.
The national mobilization effort directed at seat belt violators begins November 19th and will continue through November 25th.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during 2010, seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives. Research indicates the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent when seat belts are worn correctly.
“Buckling up is simple and it’s a proven life saver, but it’s often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, particularly at nighttime,” said Colonel Witt.
Nationally, during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64 percent of nighttime fatalities involved unbelted passengers compared to only 41 percent unbuckled passengers in daytime fatalities.
“It’s unfortunate too many people need a tough reminder in the form of a traffic ticket,” Colonel Witt said, “but taking just a few seconds for everyone in a vehicle to fasten their seat belt can make a life or death difference.”
The Arkansas State Police encourages motorists year round to practice safe driving habits which begin with buckling-up before leaving the driveway.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket, Day and Night campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.