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Stay safe on the roads this Thanksgiving

Local law enforcement agencies urge motorists to buckle up over the long weekend

The Thanksgiving holiday has traditionally been one of the busiest travel periods in the United States. With more drivers on the roads than usual, the likelihood of a motor vehicle crash will increase.

With this in mind, the Windham County Highway Safety Task Force (consisting of the Bellows Falls, Brattleboro, and Dover police departments and the Windham County Sheriff’s Office) will join other law enforcement agencies throughout Vermont and the country to make sure you make it to the table this Thanksgiving.

According to a news release from the task force, during the holiday weekend in 2019 (6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, to 5:59 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2), 279 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in traffic crashes across the nation.

More than half (54 percent) were unrestrained.

Nighttime proved riskier than daytime, with 52 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes taking place after sundown.

“These deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America and may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt,” the task force said.

“Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating gratitude with loved ones, and we want to make sure our community members and guests arrive at their Thanksgiving destinations as safely as possible,” said Windham County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chris Norton.

“Whether you’re driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, or 10 hours, it’s critical that drivers and passengers buckle up,” Norton said. “Every trip, every time.”

Norton said motorists need to make sure that “everyone in their vehicle is buckled before you even turn on the car — and that includes children being in the correct car seats, too.”

For more information about traveling safely this Thanksgiving, visit nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #640 (Wednesday, November 24, 2021). This story appeared on page A7.

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