Independence Day Ranks First in Deadly Crashes, Says IIHS

In a five-year period, an average of 118.4 deaths were recorded on July 4

Independence Day Ranks First in Deadly Crashes, Says IIHS
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June 28, 2016

With Independence Day on the horizon, you may have the beach, grilling, and fireworks on your mind. However, you should make a little room to consider safety on the roads.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more people die in motor vehicle crashes on July 4 than any other day of the year. Assessing from a five-year average, 118.4 lives are lost in crashes on Independence Day, which is 28 more deaths than the overall average daily toll during 2010-14.

Motorcycles and alcohol consumption are two variables that factor heavily into this statistic.

Independence Day is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, with an average of 26 deaths. This compares to the daily average of 12.1 motorcyclist deaths during the study period.

Forty-seven percent of the deaths on July 4 involved at least one driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08. The average across all days in these years was 35 percent for deaths in crashes involving alcohol.

"Traveling on a major holiday is risky for many reasons," said Chuck Farmer, in a written statement. Farmer is the IIHS's vice president for research and statistical services. "In general, there are more people on the roads, and drivers may be navigating areas beyond their regular commuting routes. There's a high incidence of alcohol use, which sharply raises the risk of crashing."

He adds, "Motorcyclists have to be especially careful, so wearing a regulation helmet is always a good choice even in states where they aren't required."

January 1 narrowly trails July 4 as the year's most dangerous driving day, with an average of 118.2 deaths.

The data used in the analysis are from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System, an annual census of fatal crashes on U.S. roads.