Staying safe during the 100 most critical days of summer

Staying safe during the 100 most critical days of summer
To combat these numbers, AAA recommends having a conversation with your teen about what they're doing while they're driving (Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - We're in middle of the 100 most critical days of summer.

Those days represent the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a time with more people are on the road than the rest of the year.

The heavier traffic results in more work for law enforcement, from speeding to events as serious as injury crashes.

A lot of the crashes happening involve distracted driving. From 2015 to 2017, Ohio saw 41,235 crashes due to internal distractions like a cellphone or electronic device of those 116 of the crashes were fatal and another 14,226 involving injury. Ohio also saw another 20,794 crashes from distractions outside
of their car from 2015-2017.

It's a serious issue, one experts want to drive home during this critical time.

"We go to those scenes, we see the aftermath of what happened," said Sergeant Ryan Purpura, Ohio State Highway Patrol Bowling Green Post. "Something that could have been preventable and then we have to go to that person's loved one and tell them what happened."

It's something highway patrol wants to prevent, crashes especially among teens.

In 2017 drivers between the ages of 16-20 saw 839 crashes in Wood County alone. They were the number one age group at fault for the accidents. The good news those numbers have decreased since 2016, but there is still work that must be done.

During these 100 most critical days of summer first responders want to remind drivers to be alert and cautious.

Safe Communities of Wood County said they see a lot of distracted driving crashes. In 2017 Wood County saw 61 distracted driving cases from drivers 16 to 21-years-old, of those 22 were from electronic devices, another 22 from distractions inside a car and 17 reported distractions from outside their car.

To add to that threat from 2016 to 2017 crashes increased among 16,17, and 18-year-olds. Leaders from Safe Communities of Wood County want parents to talk to their teen drivers, be an example and encourage healthy driving habits.

"We need to take responsibility for our kids and show them how much we care for them and that we want them to come home," said Sandy Wiechman, coordinator for Safe Communities of Wood County.

More than ever experts are asking you to buckle up, to put your cell phone away and drive carefully.

"We are out there looking for distracted drivers and people not wearing their safety belts," explained Sgt. Purpura. "You know every time you're in your vehicle it's a simple thing to do just stop, put on your seat belt. It's all about the choices you make."

Those choices could cost you big and not just in damages or a ticket, but injuries. Community leaders said by refocusing your attention and taking a few extra steps before you put your car in drive you can keep not just yourself safe, but others on the road too.

"We've got a lot of construction going on, we've got crazy weather going on," explained Wiechman. "When you set out to drive be focused and ready for what's around you and always wear your seatbelt."

While it seems like a common message, it's an important one you cannot forget during these next 100 most critical days of summer.

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