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As Thanksgiving Approaches, So Does Holiday Travel and the Risk of Traffic Fatalities

Date: 11.17.2011
Contact: Erica Rosenthal Phone: (330) 375-3052

Contact:Erica Rosenthal, Phone: (330) 375-3052, Email:

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 17, 2011 – Thanksgiving marks one of the busiest travel times of the year. As millions embark on road trips to visit friends and family, it is important to be overly aware while on the road, particularly on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when drunk and drowsy driving accidents will rise.

According to Traffic Safety Marketing, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 303 passengers nationwide died in motor vehicle traffic accidents during Thanksgiving in 2009, including 115 during the day and 187 at night.

Over half of the drivers and passengers who died in accidents at night were not wearing a seat belt. The NHTSA says seat belts are the most effective way to protect drivers and passengers and reduce the risk of fatalities.

“In addition to wearing seat belts properly, it’s also important to not drive while drowsy, not to text and never to drive drunk,” said Rebecca Wise, of Summa Health System, Summit County Safe Communities grant coordinator. “Distracted driving over the holidays has a high risk of resulting in accidents or fatalities. As you embark on road trips, give yourself ample time, and be cautious of others displaying these behaviors on the road.”

Summa Health System was also recently rewarded an $85,000 traffic safety grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) for 2012. The funds are passed through OCJS from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support the efforts of safety partners statewide in traffic safety priority areas such as restraint use, impaired driving, motorcycle use and youthful drivers.

There have been 32 traffic-related fatalities in Summit County this year. From January through November 2010, there were 29 traffic-related fatalities.

For more information about safe driving during Thanksgiving, visit Traffic Safety Marketing’s website.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at