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Lack of seatbelts suspected in fatal accident

With millions of Americans taking to the highways during Thanksgiving, traveling by car can be more dangerous than usual. Drivers are cautioned to take extra precautions and drive safer with much more traffic on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Thanksgiving week is one of the most dangerous weeks of the year.

A Tupelo woman lost her life in a one-car accident early Sunday morning in Monroe County. Authorities report that the accident occurred on Highway 45 nearly a mile south of Highway 8 in Aberdeen. The car, a Nissan Maxima, apparently lost control while traveling north on Highway 45. It broke through the center median and flipped over before coming to rest in the southbound lanes. The woman was ejected from the crashed vehicle and was found by passersby. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident is under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department and the Aberdeen Police Department.

While the accident is certainly a tragedy, it underscores the importance of wearing seatbelts when driving. The chances of suffering serious (and fatal) injuries increase dramatically when a person is ejected from a vehicle in a crash. According to a NHTSA study, seatbelts have saved more than 75,000 lives since 2004, and just under half of occupants killed in fatal accidents were not wearing seatbelts.

Even with these ominous statistics, the National Safety Council reports that many people still do not wear seatbelts, including teenagers, people driving at night, those who have been drinking, and people in rural areas.

Unfortunately, this accident occurred in the middle of the night in a rural area.

Sources: NSC.org, Seat belt safety, seat belt laws; DJournal.com, Accident in Aberdeen leaves Tupelo woman dead, November 26, 2012

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