July 4th deadliest holiday for teen drivers

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Independence Day is supposed to be a time of celebration, but a new report shows that July 4th is the deadliest day for teens on the road and it's just as deadly for the motorists who will be driving alongside them.

The analysis comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

More than 800 people were killed on July 4th from 2006 to 2010 and teens account for nearly 10 percent of those deaths.

Speed, alcohol and distracted driving are just some of the factors that lead to traffic accidents around the Ohio

State police Sgt. Brian Bost says troopers and other law enforcement agencies around the state are working hard to keep those factors to a minimum. "The Ohio State Highway Patrol is going to have an increased presence of troopers on the roadways throughout Ohio," said Sgt. Bost.

Sgt. Bost says they'll be keeping an eye out for unsafe drivers. "We're focusing on major crash causing violations such as speed, following too close, failure to yield, unsafe lane changes. With the increased amount of troopers we have on the roadways it's going to greatly increase our success," said Bost.

Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig says his officers will be working closely with state police. "We're doing joint checkpoints. Certainly our traffic as well as our patrol officers have a keen eye for impaired drivers. When I talk about impairment....not just drinking or under the influence, but also drivers that are distracted," said Chief Craig.

Traffic safety experts say 18 percent of injury accidents involve distracted driving and the numbers are even higher for teen drivers.  Cheryl Parker with AAA Cincinnati says parents are urged provide guidance. "As the number of teen passengers increases so does the risk of fatalities. So I think its important for teens and parents to think about who teens are on the roads with, how they're driving , if they're being safety conscious when they're out on the roads. Our message is this just because it's the Fourth of July doesn't mean safety takes a holiday...safety never gets a day off."

Traffic fatalities across the state have been declining in recent years and it's hoped that these holiday enforcement efforts will cause those numbers to drop even further.

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