July 4 remains deadliest day for American drivers


July 4 is many things to many people. To most U.S. adults, it's a day off. To the gregarious, it's a day to spend around the grill with friends and family. And to pyrophiles, it's a little slice of heaven on Earth.

July 4 also marks the start of car-theft season. And according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Independence Day remains the deadliest day of the year for American motorists.

IIHS data reveals that between 2007 and 2011, over 670 people were killed in automobile accidents on July 4. That works out to 134 deaths per day -- roughly 40 more than the U.S. is used to seeing on any given day.

In the past, teens have accounted for 10 percent of July 4 fatalities, but this year, the IIHS expects the number to drop to 6 percent. That encouraging development may be due to a shift in teens' attitudes toward distracted driving. According to the Allstate Foundation, 75 percent of teens now admit freely that reading and writing texts while driving is distracting -- a dramatic increase from the cavalier 49 percent recorded in 2009.

And when teens are riding in a car with a distracted driver, they're happy to make their concerns known: today, 87 percent of teenagers say that they'd be perfectly willing to speak up and tell a driver that he or she was driving in a dangerous way. In 2009, that figure was significantly lower, at 59 percent.

Our Take

If you're a parent, now would be a great time to check in with your kids about their driving habits. Even if they're celebrating July 4 with you in the backyard, they'll still be out of school for a couple of months, with much more time for roaming the roads than usual.

And no matter what your age, start thinking about your own July 4 activities. Whether you stick close to home, assign a designated driver, or hire a taxi for the day or night, a little planning will help you wring the most enjoyment from the day without putting yourselves or others at risk.

Follow Yahoo! Autos

RESEARCH A CAR

More Articles

  • Petrolicious finds an oasis of Chevy SS models in the desert

    The things we are interested in while young often grow into passions later in life. Take Mark Lundquist for example, whose car collection is highlighted in a new video from Petrolicious. Out of high school in the late 1960s, he worked at a gas station and filled up many of the era's most prized muscle cars.

  • A detailed look at the dreams and failure of Better Place

    This was science fiction, but Agassi presented it as fact, as if just by announcing his company he had already built it. It was "Shai math," as his employees would come to call it. And it was intoxicating. The TED crowd gave Agassi a long standing ovation.

  • Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroën 2CV?

    Most recently we've seen Chris Harris in the driver's seat of a Jaguar F-Type, a McLaren P1 prototype and a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. And outside the car, there was his indignation over the demonization of the Porsche Carrera GT after Paul Walker's death. So you might not expect him to say of a 1957 Citroën 2CV …

  • Škoda headed to Wörthersee with CitiJet roadster concept

    Every year, fans of Volkswagen Group performance cars gather at a lake in Austria to celebrate the GTI Treffen. But what started as a fan-fest for VW hot hatches has long since expanded to include other brands under the company's sprawling umbrella, and Škoda never misses out. In 2012, for example, the Czech automaker …

  • First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon

    Mercedes-Benz is about to give Americans another choice of battery-powered vehicle. Offering more all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3, and with a smaller price tag than the Tesla Model S, the B-Class Electric Drive is officially set to arrive in the US this summer. Indeed, the first examples have begun rolling …