TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Many consider this time of year as the kickoff to summer, but safety officials know this time of year as something else.
“Between Memorial Day and Labor Day is one of the deadliest times of the year on the highway,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley.
In fact, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows nearly 1,000 people were killed in car crashes during that time period in 2012.
More than half of those killed were teenagers, a group Riley said is most at risk.
“You’ve got kids out of school that are out in that period of time, some have jobs, some have absolutely nothing to do, so what do they do? They go out and they have a good time in their cars,” said Riley.
He said those good times can often include drinking and driving, texting and driving, and distractions from friends in the passenger seat.
Riley said often people don’t realize it doesn’t take long for those distractions to make a difference.
“We probably work more fatal or serious personal injury accidents at that time of the year than we do any other time,” said Riley.
In fact, AAA statistics show crashes involving teens increase in the summer by about 26 percent.
Riley said because of that, state police in partnership with local law enforcement officers will be working special patrols all summer long.
“It helps put approximately 250 to 300 extra troopers on, and what they do is they work their days off, comp time, vacation time — where they can come out and work some overtime and help keep the roads a little safer for the people who travel on them,” said Riley.
Teens are still going to go out and enjoy themselves this summer, but we want you to keep this fact in mind. National Safety Council statistics show when teenagers have a passenger in the car, the chance of a fatal crash occurring increases by about 45 percent.
If you’re going to be out and about with your friends this summer, stay safe and make sure to always pay attention to the road.