Highway’s ‘100 deadliest days’ could take a turn this summer


(WIVB) – Authorities call them the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers – the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

It is the time of year when everyone hits the road, but is an especially dangerous time for young drivers.

AAA cites studies that show fatalities linked to teenage drivers jump by 180 percent during the warm summer months compared to the rest of the year.

They especially want parents to know, safe driving habits actually start at home.

Those “100 Deadliest Days” cited by AAA are based on 10-year studies that show highway fatalities, in New York linked to teenage drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day are more than twice the number for the other 9 months of the year, although the latest count is down from the previous 10-year study.

“That is still almost 20 people, an average of 20 people, every summer involving teen crashes,” said April Engram of AAA of Western and Central New York.

AAA found New York’s numbers on par with national figures for those three months

Safety advocates worry those 100 days this summer could be exacerbated by shutdowns due to the covid pandemic.

“These kids have been kind of cooped up in their rooms,” said Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central New York. “This summer is going to be different than other summers where things are starting to open back up, but they have just been through the pandemic in 2020, so it could be a more dangerous summer.”

Mike Formanowicz is AAA’s driver training manager, and he points out safe driving starts with practice behind the wheel – and teenagers often model their parents driving habits.

“Summer, to a lot of teenagers means freedom, and if they are at that age, 16, 17, 18, they want to get their license and they want to drive over the summer, of course,” Formanowicz said. “Make sure that practice is good practice. Make sure the teens are looking over the shoulder every time they pull away from the curb, make sure they are looking behind when they are backing. Make sure they are obeying the speed limit, make sure they know what the rules of the road are.”

AAA recommends driver education programs for young drivers, that provide in-person training and online safety courses.

And of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have parents take defensive driver training, which could help with those insurance premiums.

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