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Thanksgiving leads to more fatal car crashes

Roads in New York and across the U.S. become more hazardous over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to federal statistics. As a result, safety experts encourage drivers to be extra cautious as they hit the highway this holiday season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall U.S. death rate tends to increase around Thanksgiving and stay at an elevated level until the spring. One of the reasons for this is a spike in deadly car crashes. In fact, more people die in car accidents around Thanksgiving than during any other U.S. holiday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were over 760 deadly car crashes over the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday, while there were just over 650 during Christmas 2012. According to the agency, 40 percent of the fatalities were victims of drunk driving accidents. Meanwhile, 60 percent of those killed were not wearing a seat belt. To reduce fatal crashes, the NHTSA reminds motorists not to drink and drive. The agency also recommends that drivers avoid speeding and check their tires and windshield wipers to ensure they are working properly.

Motor vehicle crashes claim thousands of lives each year. Families who lose a loved one in a car accident have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver responsible for the crash. For example, if a drunk driver ran a stop sign and killed someone, the victim's spouse or children could sue the at-fault driver for damages. If the suit is successful, the victim's family may be awarded a settlement for funeral and burial costs, lost income, loss of companionship, and other amounts allowed by statute. Families could learn more about their legal options by speaking to an attorney.

Source: Forbes, "The U.S. Death Rate Spikes On Thanksgiving. Here's Why.", Dan Diamond, Nov. 26, 2014

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