Please don't be a statistic

By Jolean Pederson, CHSP
Public Health & Safety Coordinator

December 2005

This will be a sad holiday season for the families and friends of at least 116 people. As of Dec. 11, North Dakota has had 116 fatalities on its highways. That's 116 too many!

Seat belts
Out of 116 fatalities, 63 of those victims were not wearing their seatbelts (54%).

Fastening your seat belt is an effortless way to reduce your chance of injury or death if involved in a crash, yet many people choose not to buckle up. Vehicle occupants not wearing seat belts are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash.

In the last month, two good friends were involved in motor vehicle crashes. They were both close to home and they fell asleep while driving. Neither one of them was wearing their seatbelt. When they crashed, they were both ejected from their vehicles. One of them was killed and the other one broke her neck, along with several other bones, and is paralyzed. I can't change what has happened to these people, but I can share their stories with hopes of encouraging you to buckle up every trip every time.

Drinking and driving
Out of 116 fatalities, 46 of those victims were involved in alcohol-related crashes (40%)

It's that time of year where friends and family get together for the holidays. Many people attend parties where alcohol is consumed. As a matter of fact, there is more alcohol consumed over the holidays than is normally consumed during any similar time period during the year.

For all of us, the safest decision is not to drive after consuming any alcohol, even one drink. If you do drink, here are some ways to keep your blood-alcohol concentration down, but this does not make it okay to drink and drive.

Don't become another statistic this holiday season. Please remember to buckle up and don't drink and drive. Your family and friends want you around for a while. Happy holidays and drive safe!