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Memorial Day marks beginning of ‘100 deadliest days’ for teen drivers

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OLYMPIA- Nearly six years later, it still sometimes takes Carrol Johnston a moment to find the right words when she talks about her son William.

“His infectious smile,” she said. “He was just the type of boy you wanted to be around. You wanted to be friends with him.”

Back in October 2010, 18-year-old William Johnston died in a car crash. Carrol Johnston said speed played a factor in the deadly wreck.

“I didn’t want William to be forgotten and I didn’t want his death to be for nothing,” said Johnston.

That’s why her 16-year-old daughter Caytlin created a distracted driving program for high school students in Thurston County.

“Not wanting other people to have the pain that my family did just really inspired me to want to make a difference,” said Caytlin Johnston, William’s sister.

With school almost out for the summer, state troopers are urging parents to remind their kids about the dangers of speeding, texting, and driving under the influence. Memorial Day marks the beginning of what troopers refer to as the “100 deadliest days for teen drivers.”

“These are tough conversations, but they have to be had because the last thing anyone wants is to see us on their doorstep,” said Captain Monica Alexander with Washington State Patrol.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission says not only do parents need to talk with their kids, but they also need to lead by example and follow the rules of the road.

“Our children are learning as they are watching us so when it comes time to actually get behind the wheel with them and teach them to drive they’ve already picked up a lot from us so if I can tell parents one thing it’s just be a good example,” said Angie Ward with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

If parents can learn anything from her son’s death, Carrol Johnston hopes it’s that kids need to always be reminded about the dangers of driving.

“Just remember how precious life is and how one mistake can cause a fatality,” said Johnston.