MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Thanksgiving holiday should be a joyous time for all families in America, but far too often the celebration turns to tragedy on the nation's highways. As an added precaution during the heavily travelled holiday, Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe McInnes announced there will be no temporary lane closures related to construction on Alabama interstates beginning at 12 noon, Wednesday, Nov. 26, through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 30. Emergency lane closures may be possible dependant on specific circumstances on interstates and other state roadways.
"Limiting lane closures during higher traffic volumes helps ensure safer conditions for the travelling public, construction industry workers and our maintenance crews," said McInnes. "I urge everyone to drive carefully, don't drive impaired and, most importantly, buckle up each and every trip."
Nationally, during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2006, 457 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In Alabama, 19 people were killed during the 2006 Thanksgiving holiday period.
Night time is one of the more dangerous times on the road because seat belt use is lower. Of the 266 night-time Thanksgiving passenger vehicle occupant deaths nationally in 2006, well over half (138) died with their seat belts unfastened (where seat belt use was known); while almost half of the day-time deaths were not wearing seat belts.
Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.