Police car lightsSunday is Father’s Day and while it’s usually a time reserved for celebrating our dads with gifts of neckties and golf putters, a study finds it’s the most dangerous day of the year to take a drive in Iowa.

Alex Murphy, spokesman for the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says new figures show Father’s Day has become the state’s highest single fatality holiday.

“When we started looking through this data, it surprised all of us in the office and we thought if it surprised us, it has to surprise everyone across the state,” Murphy says. “Nationally, the 4th of July is the deadliest holiday on roadways, but then we started looking closer at Iowa’s numbers and it turned out Father’s Day is the deadliest.”

Murphy calls it an “alarming” traffic safety trend. During the past 10 years, Iowa has recorded 19 traffic fatalities and 23 serious injuries in crashes on Father’s Day, Murphy says, “also, on June 22nd, that single day is the single most deadly day on Iowa roadways.”

While New Year’s Eve is also a dangerous night to drive, given the typical winter weather combined with a higher potential for drunk drivers, Murphy could only speculate why Father’s Day has moved to the top spot of the deadliest days list. “It’s nicer out, you have a lot more motorcycles on the roads, many more people are out traveling,” Murphy says. “It’s really hard to attribute it to anything specific but the nice weather could play a role in that, having more people out on the Iowa roadways.”

For travelers this weekend, he reminds Iowans to buckle up, obey the speed limit and other posted signs and laws, watch for pedestrians and motorcyclists, don’t drink and drive, and avoid distracted driving.