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100 deadly days of summer; teens 3x at risk for fatal crashes

A teenager died in a car crash in the early morning hours on Saturday. The crash happened on Carpenter Road Northeast in Lacey. The road has a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Friends of the teenager say people speed down the road often. Washington State Patrol trooper Chase Van Cleave says it is a tragic reminder to be extra careful this summer, as teens get out of school and are on the roads more.

A memorial on the side of the road marks where the teenage boy died, days after graduating high school. The cause of the accident has yet to be determined, but the crash is serving as a reminder of fatal crashes on the rise during what’s known as the 100 deadly days of summer.

“The reason it’s called the 100 deadly days is because studies have shown, consistently, that new teen drivers are in fact three times  more likely to be in a fatal accident than the other 265 days of the year.”

Young drivers say they notice teens are constantly doing other things behind the wheel.

“I notice a lot of people distracted on the road, a lot of swerving,” said Kobi Turn.

“They’re so used to updating everything, they don’t know other people’s lives are at stake, one swerve and you don’t know what you’re going to hit, what could be on your left or right,” said Eternity Quach.

Trooper Van Cleave says as the weather gets nicer, roads get drier and they see more speeding by young drivers, and with teens out of school graduations and celebrations also contribute to dangerous behavior. He says that increases the risk to teens and causes many of these crashes to happen. He urges parents to have conversations with teens about safe driving behavior and not to get behind the wheel if they are impaired in any way.

“It’s a vehicle. You shouldn’t do anything but drive it,” said Quach.

“Nothing is worse than hearing about a young life lost, than a young person driving the way they shouldn’t be,” said Van Cleave.

The family of the teenager killed in Saturday’s crash does not want to release the name of the teen yet. The teen graduated from River Ridge High School in Lacey last week. The school will have extra grief counselors for students and staff on Monday.