51 Million People is A Lot of People

The holiday season kicked off last week with Thanksgiving. According to AAA, more than 51 million people traveled more than 50 miles from their homes using planes, trains, and driving on the roads.

That's an increase from previous years - and the highest level of travel in dozens of years, according to AAA's report.

That was a lot of people. 

To put it in perspective - that was like everyone in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, and Missouri travelling at the same time.

Like I said - that was a lot of people.

And the majority of those travelers drove. 

AAA estimated that 45 million people drove to their destination this past weekend.  My family and I were included in the total number.  We braved the crowds and traveled down I-75 with millions of other people to our Thanksgiving destination, and thankfully, we made it without any issues.

But if you look at the facts - that deserves more than just some passing gratitude.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most dangerous times to drive. From impatient drivers, distracted or drunk drivers, to people not wearing their seat-belts, there is a lot of opportunity for bad things to happen when you travel over the holiday weekend.

While it is an impossible job to mandate individual behavior, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety does an incredible job of reminding drivers to slow down, buckle up, and drive sober.

But driver behavior is only one part of the problem.Larger than normal traffic volume on already crowded roads and bridges increases the risk of being in an accident during the holiday season.

And that's the one thing we can fix.

We can increase capacity on our roads and bridges so that next year, those 45 million people who will drive to their holiday celebration aren't so jammed up on the road. 

We can make safety improvements so those 45 million people who will drive are more likely to arrive safely to enjoy time with their family and friends.  

We can make improvements to our infrastructure that will result in decreases in highway fatalities rather than increases.

We can do all of that - if we pay for it.

I know I'd be willing to pay more to ensure that my two little ones arrive safely every time I put them in the car. 

Wouldn't you?