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

More Articles

  • Ford will add lots of carbon fiber to new vehicles

    Ford and Dow Chemical will work together to speed up carbon-fiber research and manufacturing capabilities.With BMW receiving a bunch of positive press for its usage of carbon fiber to build its i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles, Ford is jumping into that game as well. The US automaker has reached a manufacturing agreement with …

  • Watch This Clueless Girl Hate On This Guy’s Prom Proposal Without Knowing

    High school is tough. Emotions are fragile in a time when a majority of people are just searching for a way to find acceptance and fit in. Part of this process is partaking in the tradition of high school dances and finding a creative way to ask somebody to go with you. Daniel Pena thought that’s what

  • Autoblog Video Brunch: Week of 4.13.15

    It's time for another delicious helping of Autoblog's video brunch, and this week, we're serving up a heap of videos showing many of the cars we've driven recently.It's time for another delicious helping of Autoblog's video brunch, and this week, we're serving up a heap of videos showing many …

  • The JATO Rocket Car Myth: Urban Legends Take Flight

    Fans of the Darwin Awards take note: it seems that not all of the stories circulated by the award’s presenters are true. For example, consider the account of the non-too-bright inventor who decided to strap a solid fuel rocket to the top of his car and go for a ride. This story has been repeated

  • The best play to take stock of self-driving cars

    Self-driving cars is a growing trend, Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker says Mobileye is a pure play to make money.