AUGUSTA — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety to make sure you make it to the table this Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays for Americans, more drivers will be on the roads than usual, increasing the likelihood of a motor vehicle crash. During this kickoff to the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to stress the importance of “Buzzed driving is drunk driving” and “Buckle up. Every trip. Every time.”

According to Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, there were six fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from 2017 to 2021. Of those six fatalities, four were unrestrained. In addition, according to the Maine Department of Transportation, 139 motor vehicle occupants were injured in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from 2017 to 2021 – 23 of whom were unrestrained. Those deaths and injuries represent needless tragedies for families across Maine and might have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.

“Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating gratitude with loved ones, and we want to make sure our community members arrive at their Thanksgiving destinations as safely as possible,” said Maine Bureau of Highway Safety Director Lauren Stewart. “Whether you’re driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, or 10 hours, it’s critical that drivers and passengers “Survive your drive” and “Buckle up. Every trip. Every time.”

Maine Bureau of Highway Safety and NHSTA are reminding citizens that impaired driving is not acceptable behavior, it’s deadly and illegal, and no one should ever take that risk. The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety recommends the following safe driving tips during this holiday season:

  • Remember that it is never OK to drive intoxicated.  Even if an individual has had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1 or contact your local law enforcement agency.
    Buckling up helps keep drivers safe and secure inside their vehicle.
  • With cooler temperatures and potentially slippery road conditions, allow more travel and/or stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • With fewer daylight hours, be more cautious behind the wheel of pedestrians, animals, and other motorists.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety would like to encourage all motorists and pedestrians to stay safe so that they can enjoy all activities and festivities coming up this holiday season.

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