CLEVELAND — Although most people get excited in the summer months for warm weather and vacations, this is also one of the deadliest times of the year when it comes to car crashes. This is especially true amongst teen drivers, and experts think this year could be one of the worst.
"What we refer to as the '100 deadliest days' are the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day," Sgt. Ray Santiago with the Ohio State Highway Patrol told 3News. "More than one-third of our traffic fatalities and crashes happen in that condensed period."
The weather is warm, many teens are off from school and have just started driving and trips are usually a plenty. It all plays a role in dubbing this period as the "100 deadliest days," in particular for such teen drivers.
According to AAA, more than 7,000 people died in that time period due to crashes involving teen drivers from 2010-19. This year could be one of the worst yet, after many events and reasons for travel were canceled last summer. It’ll add to the number of inexperienced drivers logging miles for the first time.
"Drivers who have just acquired their license or were in the process of trying to do so, they kind of got shut down and absolutely lost some of that experience and training time," Santiago explained.
So as a parent, what can you do? AAA recommends at least 65 hours of monitored driving before you allow your teen to get behind the wheel on their own. OSHP adds one of the best things you can do is lead by example, saying you shouldn’t be doing anything while driving that you don’t want your young driver to mimic.
"I'm sure that every teenager can account for seeing mom, dad or their guardian do something that they kind of look over and say, 'You wouldn’t let me do that,'" Santiago said, "so make sure that we are leading by example."
AAA found that for every mile driven, new teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than adults. This is, of course, due to inexperience, but also distracted or aggressive driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. The outcome, however, is always something that stays with first responders like Santiago.
"What always hits home for me and the one thing that we never get used to is making death notifications," he said. "Specifically for teens or youthful drivers who had so much life ahead of them, there's no excuse good enough or worth putting your life in danger. Drive safe and let's just enjoy this summer."