DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The nation is approaching the end of the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, officials say there is a 27 percent hike in fatal teen deaths.
In Dayton, some of these summer days have indeed been deadly for local teens.
In May, a 16-year-old girl lost control in Darke County and crashed into a concrete post overnight.
In July, two teen girls escaped crashing following a joyride in a stolen car and police chase.
Later in the same month, a Troy teenage boy died after a serious accident.
Experts say to avoid these tragedies, teens must become safe and defensive drivers.
They say often distractions on the road and in the car can lead to a fatal drive.
2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé followed one teenager on his journey to become a licensed driver.
16-year-old Jonathan Helmers has been behind the wheel for 6 months.
As he enters the car, he cautiously starts his engine, then checks his mirrors and ultimately, once his seat belt is on, shifts into gear.
However, his drive not a typical experience for licensed teens because Helmers has a driver’s instructor.
“You know, they get in the car, they think they’re invincible. They go really fast. But the big one we see is distractive driving and that– when I say that people think texting and cell phones and that’s the big thing, but it’s also having too many people in the car, too many friends riding along with them, the radio turned up too loud and really things that take they’re focus off of driving,” said Mike Belcuore, an operations manager for AAA Driving School.
Officials say all these elements create the 100 deadliest days days for teens.
Helmers says he knows the dangers of the road, but he admits some teens just make bad choices.
“I have a lot of friends that just kind of want to go places with all their friends because only one person can drive so they all hop in that car and things can get dangerous,” he said. Edmé asked, “Why is it so easy to make that decision do you think? Why do you think people tend to just choose that way?” To which the teen said, “Cause their parents do that. I mean, people go to the movies with too many people in car, like four in the back seat, with a parent driving. Everybody’s done it, so they think it’s safe when they do it but it’s really not safe at all.”
Officials say parents have to set up.
They advise teens to do the following: eliminate distractions in the car, set radio volume and avoid adjusting it while driving and follow ground rules set by parents.
As the 100 days near an end, experts caution all drivers should still be aware.
“We need to stay diligent. We need to be involved. Driving is really among a parent and a teen, a team– a team thing. Be involved and make sure that as diligent as you’ve been these last three months that you keep it going and stay involved in your teen driving,” said the instructor.
Officials say the statistics should not deter teens from driving altogether; instead, they want teen drivers to become more alert, responsible and safe.