While the July 4th Holiday is known for many things; fireworks, barbecue, and our nation’s independence, there is an unfortunate darker side to this celebrated holiday. Statistically, July 4th has proven to be the deadliest day of the year on our nation’s roadways. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that over the last ten years an average of 148 traffic fatalities have occurred on July 4th, significantly more than any other day of the year. While this is a national study, the state of Virginia has seen the tragic results first hand. Last year in Virginia alone, there were 13 reported traffic fatalities on the 4th, more than twice the number from 2010.
The report cites increased traffic, longer driving distances, and alcohol consumption as the primary factors in this increased number of fatalities. A separate study conducted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration shows that on average 51% of all deadly traffic crashes on July 4th have been alcohol related, a significant increase from the typical day rate of 31%.
Our very own Brother Rutter hopes that awareness can help reverse this trend. “When people associate a holiday with deadly driving consequences it is generally New Year’s Eve, which ultimately keeps many people off the road and very aware of their surroundings. However, the public also needs to become more mindful of the dangers associated with driving on the 4th and take appropriate precautions.” Rutter adds “While these accident fatality statistics are particularly troubling in and of themselves, people need to remember that these are more than just statistics, they are people’s loved ones losing their lives because of someone else’s negligent behavior”. Rutter and others hope that making people aware of the dangers and the consequences of drinking and driving will help keep roads safer this holiday weekend.