News Column

July 4 Is Deadliest Day for Driving

July 3, 2013

We know it by many names. Independence Day. The Fourth of July.

But how about the deadliest day on the roads?

That's right. July 4 is the deadliest day for Americans in motor vehicles, with teens four times more likely to crash than any other age group.

The research comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to Allstate Insurance Company spokesman Sean Hudgins.

Car crashes in the U.S. are the No. 1 cause of death for those between the ages 1 to 34. Based on the latest available data, the highway safety institute reports that more than 670 people were killed on July 4 from 2007-2011, which equates to an average of 134 deaths on that day each year, Hudgins said.

Teens accounted for 6 percent of the driving fatalities on July 4 but continue to be particularly susceptible to distracted driving incidents. He said recent research from The Allstate Foundation found that 75 percent of teens admit that they find reading and responding to texts distracting behind-the-wheel, up significantly from the 49 percent reported by teens in 2009.

"There are simple things everyone can do this July 4 to stay safe such as never texting and driving," said Julia Reusch, Allstate Spokesperson. "It may sound basic but buckling up and driving within the speed limit are also important ways to stay safe this July 4."

The foundation study found that while 54 percent of teens reported seeing their parents using a phone while driving, only one out of three parents admit to it.

The study also showed that parents believe that risk-taking is the primary cause of crashes. But the real culprit is inexperience.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Hudgins said, there were 457 fatalities in crashes involving at least one 15- to 19-year-old driver in Pennsylvania between 2009-11. A total of 175 teen drivers, 108 teen passengers, all between 15 and 19 and 33 other age passengers in the teen's vehicle and 141 others were killed in those crashes.

Pennsylvania teens must log a minimum of 50 practice hours, including 15 at night, before they can obtain a driver's license.

Hudgins urged parents not to rush the training process of teen drivers. Just because teens have a permit or license doesn't mean they are ready for every driving condition.

He suggests parents discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving with their child at a young age, and keep talking with their teen before, during and after the licensing process.

And of course, never text or drive distracted.

___

(c)2013 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.

Visit the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa. at http://www.poconorecord.com/

Distributed by MCT Information Services





Source: Copyright Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, PA) 2013


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