Social graphics ClimberThe Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, when millions of Americans travel to spend time with friends and family. But more vehicles on the road means potential for more crashes and more fatalities.

In response, the Benton Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement agencies across the country on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket mobilization to make sure all Thanksgiving travelers are wearing their seat belts.

 “Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and tragically, almost half of the people who died in a fatal traffic crash last Thanksgiving were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash” said Captain Kevin Russell. “This year, we will be making sure that all Thanksgiving travelers we see are wearing seat belts, and that all violators will be pulled over.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, through 5:59 a.m. on Monday, November 30), there were 301 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 53 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.

Many of these tragic deaths could have been prevented by seat belt use. According to NHTSA research, proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent. During calendar year 2015, nationwide, seat belts were credited with saving the lives of 13,941 passenger vehicle occupants.

“We see the devastation first-hand when people fail to buckle up in a crash, so whether you’re driving down the street, across town, or hundreds of miles away, you must wear your seat belt,” said Russell. “This Thanksgiving and every day of the year, remember: Click It or Ticket.”

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit