NEW YORK — While one would typically think the deadliest day of the year is perhaps holidays known for drinking, such as the Fourth of July of New Year’s Eve, it is actually Thursday.
No icy roads, no increase in intoxicated drivers, but a staggering number of car crash fatalities happen on Aug. 2 — the most lethal day of the year for U.S. traffic fatalities, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
While you may be wondering why a day that is typically full of sunshine and beautiful weather constitutes deaths by car crashes, Becca Weast, a research scientist at IIHS, said that is the exact reason.
“In the summer, the weather is nice, sunny and people just are a little more reckless; they’re a little less careful.”
The study revealed that on average, Aug. 2 had 101 traffic fatalities.
Another factor that may influence this outstanding number is more cars on the road, an employee for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. said. As the first week of August sees a hike in vacationing, there are more vehicles out, making more opportunity for car crashes.
Further, the employee said its members reported 60,976 vehicle crashes in August of 2016 — that is more than any other month during the four years prior.
Despite the improvements in vehicle technology, Americans are dying in vehicle crashes more than ever before.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates in 2017, vehicle fatalities topped 40,000 in the US – that’s a 6 percent increase from 2015. If this estimate proves to be true, that would make 2017 the first year since 2007 that more than 40,000 people died in vehicle crashes in a single year.
“The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year. … This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us,” NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said.
The nonprofit organization urges people to practice safe driving, to help ensure safer roads.
To practice safe driving, NSC recommends using a seatbelt, driving sober, and having a designated sober driver or alternative transportation when you are out and drinking.
Additionally, the group advises drivers to avoid distractions such as cellphone use, and be sure to get proper sleep to avoid dozing off when behind the wheel.