Message from the Chief

 Joseph A. Sinagra















  This year has flown by, and Thanksgiving is already right around the corner. For many of us, this means traveling to spend the holiday with friends and family, near and far. So I want to remind everyone that no matter how far you’re driving this Thanksgiving—whether it’s down the road to a friend’s house, across town to pick up a pumpkin pie, or hundreds of miles to see a favorite relative—you could be involved in a crash. And if you or anyone in your vehicle are not wearing your seat belts, you’re at a much greater risk of being killed.


Plain and simple, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year. More cars on the road mean more crashes. More crashes mean more fatalities, but don’t be one of them. Thanksgiving weekend of 2012 (from 6 p.m. Wednesday evening to 5:59 a.m. Monday morning), there were 301 people killed in crashes on our nation’s roads, and 60 percent of those occupants killed were not wearing seat belts. At night, that number jumped to 69 percent.


Many motor vehicle crash fatalities can be prevented by seat belt use. In fact, in the last decade, over 100,000 people survived crashes because they were properly restrained. Over 12,174 lives were saved by seat belts in 2012 alone. If everyone had buckled up that year, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved. Now imagine this: the friends and family members of those 3,031 people, gathered around tables this Thanksgiving, missing their loved ones. Wishing their loved ones had buckled up.


That’s why The Saugerties Police is once again joining safety advocates nationwide to spread the message about the importance of seat belts; to prevent these tragedies from occurring. Most Americans know of at least one person who’s been killed in a crash, but too many people are still lying to themselves, thinking it couldn’t happen to them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than half (52%) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2012 were not wearing seat belts. Overall that year, there were 21,667 passenger vehicle occupants killed.


This Thanksgiving; no more excuses. Wear your seat belt every time, whether you’re the driver or a passenger, front seat or back. It’s the best way to protect yourself from injury or death in a crash. NHTSA estimates that 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. 


My Thanksgiving wish this year is that everyone would realize the life-saving benefit of wearing a seat belt. In less time than it takes you to slice that pie, pass the gravy, or call someone to say ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ you can do something powerful, smart, and effective:

Buckle Up America - Every Trip, Every Time. You’ll be thankful you did.’