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Fireworks: not the only thing to worry about on the Fourth

The Fourth of July is a big holiday, with many people having the day off, or as part of a multiday holiday. Because the kids are out of school, many people go on vacation that week and if nothing else, they may go to a picnic, parade or fireworks. With all of that celebrating, eating and drinking, it is good to take a moment to note one other aspect of the Fourth of July: it is the deadliest holiday of the year for drivers.

While the majority of people probably think that something like New Year's Day, famous for parties and drinking, it is actually the Fourth of July that is the most dangerous for highway fatalities. The Allstate Foundation used data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and found that 670 died on the Fourth between 2009 to 2011. This translates to 134 deaths in car accidents every year.

All the usual suspects are present from drinking and driving to distraction caused by cellphone use. The Allstate Foundation warns that distraction is a growing problem, especially with teen drivers.

They report that 75 percent of teen drivers have texted while driving. This is up 25 percentage points from 2009. While cellphones and smartphone are convenient and can provide a cornucopia of information, that information is all distracting and that distraction can turn deadly.

To stay safe on the Fourth, don't drink and put your cellphone away. Find a good spot to watch the fireworks and focus on watching it live, unmediated by a cellphone.

Source: Allstate Foundation, "July 4 Continues as Deadliest Day on the Road for All Americans," June 25, 2013

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