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Dark Side of July Fourth: Leading causes of Death, You May Be Surprised


New data has found that drunk driving is the biggest killer on July 4th, with 196 deaths recorded in 2022. 

Fire Cash Buyer, a real estate investor specializing in fire damage, has conducted research and compiled data from sources such as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This research aims to provide the most up-to-date figures on the total number of deaths resulting from the eight leading causes of fatalities on July 4th. 

Rank Cause Average number of fatalities 
Drunk driving 196 
Speeding 33 
Swimming 13 
Fireworks 11 
Food poisoning 
Heat stroke 
House fires 


  1. 1. Drunk driving 

According to the most recent data, released in 2022, the number of deaths caused by drunk driving over the July 4th holiday reached a staggering 196, solidifying its position as the leading cause of fatalities on deadliest weekend of the year. Many Americans will enjoy raising a toast to Independence Day this Fourth of July, but with people driving more to visit family, friends and festivities, the risk of a drunk driving accident skyrockets.  

  1. 2. Speeding 

The second biggest Fourth of July killer is speeding, with 33 deaths resulting from speeding on average. The holiday atmosphere can lead to heightened excitement and a sense of urgency to get to celebrations, the roads are busier leading to congestion and peer pressure are all contributing factors to the increased risk of speeding casualties. 

  1. 3. Swimming  

With the Fourth of July holiday being a big part of the summer celebrations, many Americans will be heading to water to cool down or have some fun. However, drowning is the third largest cause of death on July 4th, with 13 deaths on average. Causes can include over-consumption of alcohol, rip tides, overcrowding on popular beaches and late-night low-visibility swimming. 

  1. 4. Fireworks 

According to the latest figures from 2022, 11 deaths were caused by fireworks on the Fourth of July. Fireworks are a staple of Independence Day celebrations, bringing excitement and beauty to events, but they are also highly dangerous. The NFPA has found that every 4th of July, children and teenagers are more likely to sustain injuries from the use of consumer fireworks; in 2018, children under the age of 15 made up over a third of the total fireworks related injuries, and half of all fireworks related accidents involved injuries to the extremities, with 34% affecting the eye or other areas of the head.

  1. 5. Food poisoning 

Death from food poisoning is the fifth greatest killer, with 9 deaths per day on average. Like fireworks, BBQs are also an essential part of Independence Day get-togethers for many, but if food isn’t prepared properly food poisoning can be one of the fatal consequences.  

  1. 6. Heat stroke 

Temperatures can often soar during Fourth of July merriments, with the holiday landing in summer, and, on average, 7 people die from heat stroke per day in America. However, with many celebrations being held outdoors, Americans are exposing themselves to potentially lethal temperatures if they don’t take precautions such as seeking shade, staying hydrated and not going out during peak hours. 

  1. 7. Boats 

The chances of propeller accidents from boats increase quite drastically during Fourth of July, and 6 fatalities were caused by boat propellers according to the latest data from 2022. Increased boating activity, open-water swimming, alcohol consumption and overcrowded waterways are all contributing factors to be aware of. 

  1. 8. House fires  

House fires are the eighth greatest cause of death, with the average number of deaths from house fires in America at 3 per day. House fires occur more frequently during Fourth of July celebrations primarily due to the widespread use of fireworks, the increased use of grills and fire pits, flammable decorations, and alcohol consumption, which often leads to negligence in fire safety practices.  

Joel Efosa, CEO of Fire Cash Buyer, commented on the findings:   

“To stay safe during Fourth of July celebrations, handle fireworks responsibly by following local laws, lighting them one at a time, and keeping water nearby. Or as the NFPA suggests, glow sticks can make a fun and safe alternative to sparklers, which account for a quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.  

“Exercise caution when outdoor cooking by placing grills and open flames away from flammable structures and decorations and not leaving them unattended. Limit alcohol consumption to avoid impaired judgment, especially when using fireworks, grills, vehicles or boats.  

“Protect yourself from the heat by staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and seeking shade, and ensure water safety by supervising children, using life jackets when boating, and avoiding swimming alone or in unfamiliar waters. 

“Following these precautions can help make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday.”