Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation

Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation

This Independence Day could see the most traveled 4th of July holiday weekend ever, according to the American Automobile Association, which expects a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans to travel over 50 miles from home this year.

The number is 1.25 million higher than the number of travelers in 2016, a 2.9% increase. The vast majority of travelers, 37.5 million Americans, will drive to their holiday destinations this year, while 3.44 million travelers will fly -- an increase of 4.6% over last year.

“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular, this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president for travel and publishing.

All this traffic contributes to the fact that the 4th of July is officially the most dangerous day to drive in the U.S., according to a study by Geotab, a fleet management company. Over a 10-year period, Independence Day averaged 119 deadly crashes with a fatal crash rate of 14.9. The 4th of July also had the highest percentage of fatal crashes involving alcohol or drugs, with an average of 47%.

Geotab produced an interactive graphic which shows which states have the highest risk of a fatal crash in a year, as well as which day is the most dangerous in each state. The map is accessible here.

“The future of connected vehicle data will enable Geotab to produce more services to help improve road safety and vehicle operating efficiency," said Colin Sutherland, executive vice president.

The extended holiday weekend can also bring increased cargo theft. SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center warns that holiday weekends are a notoriously high risk for manufacturers and logistics-related organizations because of the high numbers of unattended shipments.

Organized cargo theft rings are often more active during these time periods. This year’s 4th of July falling on a Tuesday means that many facilities will be closed on Monday, extending the weekend and resulting in longer stage times and lower security staffing.

SensiGuard found that in 2015-2016, the average loss value over Independence Day weekend was $365,453, which is 120% higher than the average loss value over the last two calendar years. The company recommends that logistics and security personnel ensure that security protocols are up-to-date and in line with industry best practices for both in-transit and warehouse operations.

SensiGuard strongly suggests confirming in advance that receiver’s hours of operation are consistent with scheduled delivery times. Covert GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments are highly recommended, as they have proven to be the most effective protocols to both mitigate in-transit theft and facilitate successful recovery of stolen product.

Corrected 1 p.m. EDT June 29 to correct the author of the interactive "Most Dangerous Day to Drive" map. We apologize for any confusion.