What experts want you to remember as ‘100 Deadliest Days’ comes to an end

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - From 2011 to 2020, 31% of the more than 2,000 fatal crashes that involve teen drivers happened during what AAA defines as the ‘100 Deadliest Days.’

The 100 Deadliest Days last from Memorial Day to Labor Day. So far this summer and in our viewing area, there have been nearly 200 crashes involving teen drivers.

Local law enforcement officials said keeping teenagers safe on the roads begins before they start the engine.

“Making sure they have enough time to get there, making sure they minimize distractions because if you take those two things out of the picture they are able to focus on the road and where they are going,” Lt. Chris Monahan with the Harrisonburg Police Department said.

Experts said looking away from the roads for two seconds, whether it be to talk to a passenger or even turn up the radio, causes the risk of getting in a crash to double.

“Last year looking at some of the numbers, teen driver-related fatalities increased 55% in 2021 compared to 2020,” Morgan Dean from AAA explained.

Dean said preliminary data for 2022 shows throughout the state of Virginia, there were 17 fatalities in teen driver-related crashes.

Two of those fatalities happened in Rockingham County. From the end of May to September 1, there have been more than 180 crashes involving teen drivers in the Shenandoah Valley area, with 84 resulting in injuries.

You can read the complete data on crashes in the Staunton region by clicking here.

“Teenage drivers just don’t have the experience of drivers who have been on the road for a longer period of time and that in and of itself can lead them to worse outcomes in crashes,” Dean added.

As students head back to class, HPD launched Traffic Safety Blitz this week to keep everyone teens or adults alert and by posting signs reminding them to slow down.

“When you are going down the roadway, you see the sign that makes you pay attention to what you are doing and taking into consideration what the sign says. Stop for school buses, slow down in the school zones, all those things play an impact on how you drive,” Lt. Monahan explained.

If you are interested in posting a sign on your lawn, reach out to the Harrisonburg Police Department. From there, you can pick a sign up or officers can drop it off.