Highway Safety Urged on July 4

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is working to inform Americans gearing up for their Independence Day celebrations next week that the new analysis of crash data shows July 4 is the deadliest day for teenage drivers and the motorists alongside them.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans 34 years old or younger, and teens are four times more likely to get into a crash next Wednesday. IIHS projections show that an average of 140 will die in a car crash in American on the Fourth of July, with 10 percent of those fatalities being teenagers, based on research that over 800 people were killed on July 4 from 2006 through 2010.

“These tragedies are compounded by the fact that many crashes are preventable,” said Fargo-based insurance agent Pat Stocking. “Driver error, speeding and distractions are the main causes of crashes and seemingly simple activities such as switching radio stations or interacting with friends can significantly impair a teen’s or adult’s ability to react quickly to changing traffic conditions.”

Stocking said staying focused on the road, wearing seat belts and following the speed limit and other road rules are simple steps to make sure that all drivers return home safely.

Parents are urged to talk to teen drivers early and often, discussing the risks and responsibilities of driving before, during and after the licensing process. Also, do not rush a teen driver through the training process, understand state driving laws and be a good role model behind the wheel by being calm, courteous, wearing a seat belt and following the rules of the road. IIHS research has shown that the more involved parents are with their teens driving experience, the more likely that teen will be a safer driver.