It could be deadliest Thanksgiving since 2008 – but defensive driving can save lives
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to disturbing traffic safety trends this year, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period may not be an exception. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 485 people may be killed on the roads during the four-day Thanksgiving Holiday period and another 55,300 may be seriously injured in crashes. The estimate is the highest the Council has issued for the Thanksgiving holiday period since 2008. If it holds, it would be the highest number of fatalities the U.S. has experienced for a Thanksgiving holiday period in just as long.
NSC monthly analysis has shown that the roads have become deadlier despite less traffic. While the number of fatalities dropped dramatically in the spring, the U.S. experienced a significant rise in the death rate – a statistic that shows how safe the roads are at any given time. In the first six months of 2020, the death rate was 20% higher than during the same period in 2019, despite a 17% drop in miles driven between January and June. Overall, motor vehicle fatalities are up an estimated 5% through September, with approximately 30,390 people killed since January.
Denver Personal Injury attorney Brad Freedberg says the holidays can be a nightmare for families victimized by drunk and distracted drivers. "When we see wrongful death cases this time a year, the emotional trauma is severe. Every Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas season, the memories come flooding back.
This particular year’s Thanksgiving holiday period estimate is subject to enhanced volatility, with a wider statistical confidence interval than usual, because of trends in 2020.
“We’ve noted several times this year that open roads should not be an open invitation for reckless driving,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We urge drivers to remain vigilant about their own safety if they decide to travel. If every driver would slow down, buckle up, drive sober and pay attention, we could have a holiday of zero fatalities, which is the only acceptable number.”
Alcohol often is a major factor in fatal crashes during holiday weekends, including Thanksgiving. In 2018 – the most recent year for data – 31% of fatal crashes during the holiday period involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
Denver Personal Injury Attorney - Estimated 485 Road Fatalities During Thanksgiving Holiday Period, Linda Otto