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

  • Meet The Mufflers - An All-Female Motorcycle Group

    Meet "The Mufflers"—an all female riding group that believes in safety, education, confidence and empowerment for women

  • Cool car technology is cool until it breaks

    The safety and aesthetic features of new cars are driving up purchase and repair costs – over the past 15 years the price of a Cadillac Escalade headlight, for instance, has risen almost 800 percent.Ah, technology – the beautiful date that impresses all your friends but costs you a fortune to keep happy, up-to-date, and …

  • Watch this Dodge Ram Out-Sprint a Nissan GT-R

    If you turn up to the drag strip in a pickup truck, you’re either (A) incredibly confident in the stock power of your big V8 or turbodiesel, or (B) behind the wheel of a knockout-punching sleeper. Today, we can positively say that this Dodge is from the latter camp.  Meet the ‘Ramaro’, a four-wheel-drive 1998

  • Toyota wants half its vehicles in Japan to be hybrids

    Toyota is boosting production of hybrids in Japan by 30 percent compared to 2014 levels, and the company wants half of its sales there to be electrically assisted models as soon as next year.The Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle could signal the future of motoring with a somewhat accessible price and cutting-edge …

  • Magnus Walker Talks About the History of the Porsche 911 Turbo

    The first Porsche 911 Turbo was launched forty years ago, in 1975. And although Porsche is often criticized for not doing enough to change the exterior of its cars through its history, much has changed within the realm that the 911 Turbo inhabits. Through that time, the 911 Turbo has gone through countless updates and