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Experts urge caution during deadly driving season for teens

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AAA research shows summer is deadliest time for teen drivers

Travel experts from AAA are warning young drivers and their families about the “100 deadliest days.” That’s the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when fatal crashes involving teens spike across the state.

Research from AAA shows that from 2010-2019 in New York state, 196 people were killed in crashes involving teens between those dates.

As the mother of a teen driver and public relations director at AAA, Elizabeth Carey is constantly going over the rules of the road with her daughter, but she said she still worries about the months ahead. 

"These kids have been kind of cooped up in their rooms,” said Carey. “This summer is going to be different than other summers where things are starting to open back up. They had just been through the pandemic in 2020, so it could be a more dangerous summer."

This year, young drivers are finding an additional challenge as a lot of in-person drivers’ education courses are canceled because of COVID-19. AAA driver training manager Mike Formanowicz said that’s when parents can really step up by letting their teens practice with them.

“Even if your teen has their license already, it’s not a bad idea to still do some supervised driving, just because the level of traffic is going to be so much greater today than it was just one year ago,” said Formanowicz.

He also advises parents to keep a close eye on how their teens are driving. AAA offers online courses to teach defensive driving skills. 

"Make sure that practice is good practice,” said Formanowicz. “Make sure the teens are looking over the shoulder every time they pull away from a curb.  Make sure they're looking behind when they're backing.  Make sure they're obeying the speed limit.  Make sure they know what the rules of the road are."

He reminds parents that their children are watching their actions, so be sure to set a good example while behind the wheel, following traffic rules and keeping electronic devices put away. 

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.