Memorial Day through Labor Day are the 100 deadliest days of teens behind the wheel

Updated: Jun. 5, 2019 at 8:24 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Memorial Day to Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days for teenagers behind the wheel but the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is working to protect those drivers.

U.S. 301 at 1st Street is one of the busiest roads in Manatee County. It is one of the easiest access points to the beaches but it could very well be one of most dangerous for teens looking to have some simple fun.

“There’s so much crazy drivers,” Joy Shirley, a parent of a Manatee County teen said. “It’s so important that we as parents talk to our kids and let them know this is a serious time.”

From Memorial Day to Labor, more teen drivers are on the roads meaning a greater risk to be involved in car crashes and accidents.

Many crashes involving teens resulting from distracted driving, speeding and drinking. “I’ve has a lot of friends die from doing stupid stuff," Tia Betts, a teen driver said. “It’s just not worth it to drink and drive.”

Michael Kenyan with Manatee County’s Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit says he has already issued tickets to teens for breaking the law.

“School’s out their headed to the beach and such," Kenyan said. "Some have summer jobs. Last week I had a traffic stop on one pick up truck. It was a small pick up truck and they had it overloaded. They had three in the front seat, it’s designed for two, these things are dangerous.”

Sergeant Kenyan’s message to parents: Get their inexperienced teen driver involved in the Sheriff’s Office Teen Driver Challenge Program.

“It’s the basic course we put the recruits through for law enforcement it educates them and a lot of dynamics of the car,” Kenyan said. “Every kid that has come to it so far who was sent there by their parents leave saying wow that was really cool and they tell their friends about it.”

Sergeant Kenyan says he has not seen an increase of tragic crashes involving teens. He did say parents should lead by example for their teen drivers like keeping the phone down while driving at the speed limit.

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