KNOXVILLE - School is out for the summer, which means the number of young drivers on the road is going way up, but so is their risk of serious accidents.
It's is such a problem that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the "the 100 deadliest days of summer."
AAA research shows that deadly teen crashes actually rise 15 percent in the summer.
“It’s because of a few reasons,” explained Drive 4 Life instructor Greg Mangan. “More kids on the road, summer jobs, and they have places to go. Plus, their parents are loosening their rope a little bit letting them being on the road more and more miles on the road translates sadly into more deaths.”
East Tennessee, sadly, is no stranger to this tragedy.
"Knoxville has lost young kids and their friends come here, and sometimes they will share and talk about it, their loss and how they've dealt with it, it’s a difficult thing and I hope it makes them a little more conscientious behind the wheel.”
Speeding, not buckling your seatbelt and distractions are leading causes.
While a lot of blames goes to cell phones, that isn’t the only distraction.
"Eating, drinking, smoking, billboards, bugs, bees. We could go on,” said Mangan, “Holding hands in the car, the radio other passengers, babies, dogs, cats, the list goes on and on.”
At Drive 4 Life Academy, Mangan and his team teach drivers proactive ways to stay safe.
“We try to get the students to have a routine for each time they get in the car, pilots do it I think it’s a good thing for drivers as well," he said.
Have a routine, and make sure to be comfortable before taking off.
“It’s important to get a good safe fit in the car, hands in the right position 9 and 3 o’clock," he said.
The biggest lesson to learn, is how your actions can affect others.
“You could hurt someone else, you could kill another human being because of your inattention for that split second,” said Mangan.
You can learn more about Drive 4 Life Academy here.
1. Buckle your seatbelt
2. Turn off your cell phone
3. Put bags and purses on the floor of the backseat
4. Put your phone in the car pocket, or in purse in backseat
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