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New study says teen drivers are at higher risk during summer months

CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) — Every year, during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the number of deaths involved in teen drivers collisions rises according to data from AAA.

The time period is considered the ‘100 deadliest days’, and a new study by AAA looks at key behaviors teen drivers have contributing to fatal collisions.

AAA’s report says nearly 3500 people were killed in crashes involving teens over the last five years.

The recent study found that during this time period, crashes involving teens are 17% higher than the period outside of the ‘100 deadliest days’.

Top contributing factors are drinking and driving, speeding and distraction.

Officials say the best way to to prevent dangerous behavior behind the wheel is to encourage teen drivers to avoid said antics.

However, Wausau West High School Resource Officer Jeff Schremp points to texting while driving as the biggest issue effecting the school.

“Kids can’t walk down a hallway straight because they’re on their cell phones. So now, put them behind the wheel and say, ‘drive a car.’ And they’re texting while driving? It’s a recipe for disaster.” said Officer Schremp.

AAA found that 52 % of teen drivers in their program admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the past 30 days.

Even if you follow the rules, there’s always a possibility of danger on the roads — something Wausau West students know all too well.

After the tragic death of one of their own earlier this year, they were reminded of their loss during graduation.

“When it got to be her name and it got read, there was a silent pause and we had to say ‘in loving memory of this student.’ She wasn’t there, so that hits home for our school. We lost a student this year because of a car accident,” said Schremp.

Although the student was not engaging in any harmful behavior, everyone should do their part to attempt to  make driving less dangerous than it already can be.

Chase McNamara

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