NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – With teens out of school and behind the wheel, it can be a dangerous mix with the traffic build-up we’re expecting this holiday weekend.
This year, Memorial Day travel is expected to be the biggest volume in 12 years. AAA is forecasting 39-million people will be traveling from next Thursday through Monday. 34-million of them will be driving to their destination. Among them: teen drivers – many inexperienced, and driving distracted.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens, because more of them are driving during summer vacation, and there are more drivers overall on the roads. The Highway Safety division says deadly car crashes involving teens increase by 43% during these 100 days.
Hampshire county drivers have already seen driving behaviors change ahead of the holiday weekend. Leslie Reed of Northampton told 22News, “Here we are on the first warm day, and already there are 3 times as many people on the roads, so there’s a ton of increased traffic.”
Rico Spence of Westhampton agrees, saying, “People are in a hurry to get [to their destinations]. They’re driving crazy, they’re on their cell phones, and it’s chaos sometimes.
From 2010 to 2014, more than 5,000 people died in crashes involving teen drivers during these 100 days, according to AAA. Last summer Governor Baker promoted a campaign to raise awareness about this dangerous time for teens on the road. So far, a similar campaign hasn’t been announced.
AAA says most deadly accidents involving teen drivers take place during the night time.