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Deadly Christmas and New Year's predicted on U.S. roadways

The National Safety Council has a grim prediction: 307 people will die in traffic accidents over the three-day Christmas holiday period.

And 346 will lose their lives over the three-day New Year's holiday period. 

A combination of low gas prices, lower unemployment, and good driving weather means more people will be on the road, increasing the risk of fatal accidents.

Ken Kolosh manages the statistics group for the National Safety Council.

He says many of the deaths are preventable.  Take the very simple act of buckling up in the car. 

"If everyone worse their seat belts, 116 people could be saved this Christmas period," says Kolosh.

Kolosh says, unfortunately, roughly 13% of people in the U.S. don't wear their seat belts, or only wear them sporadically. 

And that 13% group accounts for around half of the passenger vehicle occupant fatalities each year.

Other known life-safers: not texting behind the wheel, not driving after drinking alcohol, and not speeding. 

Kolosh says speeding causes about 28% of fatal accidents.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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