MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 100 deadliest days have begun for teen drivers. The stretch between Memorial and Labor Day usually sees a rise in the number of teens killed in crashes.

The State Patrol says that 124 deaths happened during the same time frame in 2018. That’s a third of the fatality rates we see across the state for the whole year. According to State Patrol says, it by and large has to do with four factors: distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding and lack of seat belts.

We might think because it’s such a hot button issue that distracted driving made up the most deaths. Of course, one is too many, but State Patrol says drunk drivers actually quadrupled distracted driving fatalities, at 36.

Whether you’re a teenager, a parent of one, or you’re just sharing the road with your neighbors, officers urge you pay attention.

“It’s a time when it’s warm and more kids are out of school and we want to get where we’re going safely. Watch the speeds, put the distractions away, plan for a sober ride. I can’t stress that enough,” Lt. Gordon Shank said. “We have plenty of options available. And it’s not a direct cause of accidents, but wear your seat belt. Wearing a seat belt doesn’t prevent crashes but it prevents injuries as a result of crashes that happen.”

Shank said 92 people died last year because they weren’t wearing a seat belt.

“If you see something that’s not safe in your opinion, call in. We want that. We like people that call in to tell us. We’d like to be everywhere but the reality is we can’t be everywhere all the time. We rely on people to call in and speak up and say something and say that someone in the car Is making a decision that is not the safest decision at that time,” Shank said.

AAA focused its reminder to parents of teenagers specifically in part because the statistics are especially alarming there. It says the average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers has historically been almost 20 percent higher this time of year versus others.

Christiane Cordero

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