The month of August continues to be the deadliest driving month of the year, especially Aug. 2, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
That is not welcome news for the districts that start school in the coming weeks. IIHS also recommended to avoid Friday afternoons, if possible. Unless a school district operates on a four-day week, that’s also a big ask. However, students remain safer on school buses than in any other vehicle.
“The summer months are the most hazardous on the road. There’s more traffic, and people are traveling more miles. Drivers are too often speeding or impaired, which greatly exacerbates crash risk. Bigger, heavier vehicles afford more protection when crashes happen,” IIHS Senior VP of Communications Russ Rader told School Transportation News. “That’s why school buses are the safest way for children to travel. Riding in a school bus is far safer than walking or even riding in a passenger vehicle.”
He added that the biggest contributors to motor vehicle fatalities continue to be lack of belt use, alcohol-impaired driving and speeding.
Nationwide Insurance members reported more accidents in August 2016 (60,976) than any other month over the last four years; 15,914 people died in motor vehicle crashes in August during a five-year period (2012-2016), ranking it as the deadliest driving month of the year, according to IIHS. Based in Arlington, Va., IIHS was established in 1959 as an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization that wants to reduce the losses and deaths in vehicle accidents. It is funded by auto insurers and insurance associations.
As for the Aug. 2 date, IIHS declared it to be the deadliest driving day of the year. There were more traffic fatalities (505) due to motor vehicle crashes on this date than any other of the calendar year over a five-year span (2012-2016), IIHS added.
The statistics confirm that the largest contributing factors to auto accidents, according to Nationwide, are:
- Hard braking
- Sudden acceleration
- Time spent in congested driving conditions
Based on Nationwide’s research involving more than 600,000 members and over 1.3 million vehicles enrolled in its SmartRide program, states that show the highest frequency of factors known to contribute to auto accidents are:
Arizona—2.6 hard breaking incidents per 100 miles driven last August, which ranked as the highest of any state in any month of 2017; and 15.8 percent of drivers’ time that month was spent idling
- New York—Drivers there had the highest number of fast accelerations last August, and led all SmartRide states in monthly median number of fast accelerations for 2017, with .58 per 100 miles
TIME SPENT IDLING
- New York
Drivers in Georgia and Texas spent 15.8 percent of their time idling last August, the most of any month of 2017 for drivers in those states. Florida drivers led with 16.3 percent of their time idling.
Nationwide’s data also identified Fridays, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. as the most aggressive time of the week for drivers, which also coincides with late morning, mid-day and afternoon school bus route service.
“During this timeframe, drivers’ habits behind the wheel show more instances of hard breaking and faster accelerations than any other time of the week,” the study said.