The Washington State Department of Health is warning parents that the summer season is a dangerous time for teen drivers.
The DOH says the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is statistically the deadliest time of year for teens.
“It has to do with exposure,” says Kathy Williams, with the Department of Health. “There is more driving done in the summer months in general than in winter and fall, so kids are out there more. There’s probably more parties, going to the beach, so they’re out and about.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls this period the “100 Deadliest Days.”
The Department of Health says between 2005 and 2009, there were 119 fatalities involving youth age 15 to 17 on the roads. The numbers are even higher for 18 to 19-year-olds. In the same five year period, there were 151 fatalities in that age range.
The DOH says teens often feel invincible, and risky behaviors like texting while driving and drinking are common among teens celebrating graduation or the end of the school year.
Williams says parents can help keep teens safe by limiting the number of passengers in the car, and giving them options, like an offer for a ride if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.