COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – This week marks the beginning of the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” It refers to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic picks up and more drivers are engaging in risky behaviors.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the stretch of summer driving accounts for more than one-third of fatal and injury crashes for the entire year. In 2019, the state was averaging 793 crashes per day. It was the highest per day average in the past five years.
“People are going on vacation, going to see family, going to see other people so we have more cars on the roadway, which is going to lead to more crashes,” explained Trooper Brice Nihiser.
The number of fatal crashes and people killed have both decreased each of the last five years. In 2019, 335 fatal crashes killed 357 people in Ohio. Troopers point to speeding, alcohol or drug use and distractions as some of the biggest risk factors.
“We’re constantly out on the road trying to make sure that people aren’t distracted as they’re driving,” Nihiser said.
According to AAA, the “100 Deadliest Days” is especially risky for teenagers, with drivers ages 16-17 years old up to three times more likely to be involved in deadly crashes than adults. AAA is also predicting even riskier behavior with the combination of cancelled summer activities and summer jobs, along with COVID-19 restrictions lifting.
Troopers encourage parents to talk with young drivers about road safety and say it should be top of mind for all drivers, especially during the “100 Deadliest Days.”
“If everybody’s driving courteously and being mindful of others, everyone should be getting where they need to safely,” Nihiser said.
To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:
- Talk frequently with new drivers about risky behavior behind the wheel
- Teach by example
- Practice driving with your teen, including during nighttime hours
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
You can find a guide to help coach your teen on safe driving here.