Making safe choices before hitting the road is crucial to saving lives

This year, the National Safety Council estimates 507 people will perish in a preventable traffic crash over the Thanksgiving holiday period. During this time, which begins Wednesday, Nov. 22 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 26, impaired driving is of particular concern. Over the holiday period in 2020, 36% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

“It’s alcohol, but also drugs, fatigue, and a combination thereof that can all cause impairment,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at the National Safety Council. “While a special emphasis is on a celebration such as Thanksgiving this time of year, it’s crucial to make safe choices before you hit the road every time. Choose to drive awake and sober or arrange an alternative mode of transportation; lives depend on it.”

In addition to driving free of impairment, the National Safety Council urges drivers to buckle up, slow down, drive free of distraction and practice defensive driving. For more safe driving tips, visit NSC also encourages communities and states to evaluate the road design so that they are implementing the safest roadway systems. All this is part of the Safe System Approach which takes a holistic look at roadway safety that includes safe vehicles, safe speeds, safe roads and effective post-crash care in addition to safe road users. To learn more about how leading roadway safety organizations are using the Safe System Approach to achieve zero traffic fatalities in the U.S., please visit Review supplemental information about the Thanksgiving Day holiday fatality estimates, and additional motor vehicle data and research at