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Driving Out of Town for the Holidays?

By Aline Miranda on November 22, 2017

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, it is likely you, like millions of other Americans, will be driving to visit friends and family. According to AAA, Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Almost one in six Americans travel at least 50 miles over the holiday weekend.

As you sit in the driver seat, you will unfortunately travel on some of the most dangerous roads in the industrialized world. This was not always the case for the U.S. In 1990, U.S. vehicle fatality rates were about 10% lower than in Canada and Australia. Our fatality rates have fallen since (mostly due to building safer cars), but fatality rates in other countries have fallen faster. How did the U.S. fall behind? Over the past 30 years, Canada, Australia and much of Europe have implemented evidence-based driving campaigns to reduce vehicle crashes and fatalities. The U.S. simply has not kept up with the rest of the world. Currently, the vehicle fatality rate in the United States is 40% higher than Canada and Australia. If the United States stayed on track with the rest of the world, there would be about 10,000 fewer vehicle related deaths each year.

What the rest of the world seems to know is this: Vehicle fatalities can be attributed to driving speed and seatbelt use. Other countries tend to have lower speed limits and more speed cameras to enforce speed laws. Also, seatbelt use is more common in other countries than in the United States. According to research done by the European Transport Research Review, one in seven American drivers still do not use a seatbelt, which is significantly higher than in European countries.

This holiday weekend, please remember to buckle up and watch your speed. More information and vehicle fatality statistics can be found here: