Discover what the research says about U.S. roads in August and how to best protect yourself from the risk of traffic accidents.
When it comes to passenger safety on U.S. roads, most fatal auto accidents occur around major holidays, such as July 4th, Christmas, and New Year’s. But when it comes to the top 10 deadliest roadway days, four of the ten days are in August. Read on to review why, as well as what you can do to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Research Paints a Grim Picture
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a large study from 1986 up until 2002. While this information is dated, the overall trend holds true even today – August is one of the deadliest months to be on the road. During the 16-year span IIHS reviewed, on average:
- 142 people died in auto accidents on Aug. 3
- 140 people died on Aug. 6
- 139 people died on Aug. 4
- 139 people died on Aug. 12
More recent data continues to support this information; August continues to be a horrific month when it comes to fatal crashes, followed by October and then July. One update, involving a Nationwide study from 2012-2016 found that during that time frame, August 2nd became the deadliest day of the year. According to the research, more than 505 people were killed in traffic crashes during those four years on August 2nd.
Nationwide noted that they received 61,000 accident reports during that time frame involving those they insure. As for the “why” in this equation, some research from states Nationwide serves noted that contributing factors to these accidents were hard braking, sudden acceleration, and time spent stuck in traffic where people tend to be distracted.
Colorado Fatalities Increase Despite Time of Year
While some states are seeing a gradual decrease in traffic fatalities, a handful of states have seen an increase in traffic deaths, Colorado among them. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), from 2015-2017, Colorado saw a 16 percent increase in motor vehicle deaths. Rhode Island landed in the number one spot with a whopping 87 percent increase in vehicle deaths.
Some experts say the overall increase is all due to distracted driving and higher speed limits. IIHS studies have shown that an increase in speed limits over the past two decades have claimed 33,000 lives. In 2013, IIHS says 1900 people were killed in auto accidents due to increased speed limits that year alone. Since 1995, individual states have had the authority to set their own speed limits, and today, six states have set their highway limit at 80 mph. If you are in parts of Texas, the legal speed limit is 85 mph.
So, again a word of caution. More people are killed and injured on our nation’s roads in August than any other month during the year. Keep that in mind when you get into a car as a driver or passenger and do your part to keep yourself safe. Buckle up every time you enter a vehicle; if you’re driving, put the phone down. Distractions are deadly, even more so in August.