How many people are killed by cars every year?

Motor vehicle crashes in the United States result in more than 40,000 deaths per year, says the Institute in the journal Injury Prevention. That is, on each of the 6,209 consecutive days included in this study, an equivalent of a plane load or more of people died on the roads.

But not all days are alike. Weekends are worse than weekdays, summer and fall months have more deadly crashes than winter or spring months, and holidays top the list for crash deaths.

The Institute studied U.S. Department of Transportation data from 1986-2002. Information covered crashes on public roads resulting in a death within 30 days, including pedestrian deaths.

On average, more than 100 people per day died in car crashes in the U.S. The death toll for a single day can range from 45 to 252 people, say the researchers.

July Fourth had the highest number of crash deaths (161). It had an average of 12 more deaths than any other day of the year. This day also had a high number of deaths involving alcohol.