MERIDIAN, Idaho — The period titled the "100 Deadliest Days" by the Idaho Transportation Department's Office of Highway Safety (OHS) begins this weekend.
In 2021, 92 people died in traffic crashes on Idaho roads from the start of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, according to OHS. Of those deaths, 73 people were in passenger vehicles: cars, pickups, or sport utility vehicles; 15 were on motorcycles; three were on an ATV or UTV; and one was a pedestrian.
The summer days are called the "100 Deadliest" because there typically is an increase in fatal crashes, not just in Idaho, but across the nation.
88 people were killed in crashes in Idaho during the summer of 2020 -- amounting to more than 40% of crash deaths for the entire year. As in 2021, 92 people died in fatal crashes during the summer of 2019.
The Meridian Police Department (MPD) said it plans to increase patrols to educate teens about safe driving. MPD is also encouraging parents to discuss safe driving practices with their teens.
MPD said important driving topics for parents to cover with their teens include driver inexperience, traveling with other teens, nighttime driving, using a seat belt, driving while distracted, drowsy or impaired, and reckless driving.
According to MPD, 74% of injury and fatality accidents in Meridian since 2017 were caused by distracted driving. Police classify distracted driving as using a cell phone behind the wheel and driving with passengers in the vehicle.
"Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and nonfatal injury among U.S. adolescents, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths and 30,000 nonfatal injuries each year," the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says.
Parents hoping to help their teens with more safe driving resources may register for MPD's Alive at 25 Program. The survival course was developed by the National Safety Council.
Alive at 25 is a four-and-a-half-hour course for people between the age of 14 and 24. The course is taught by Meridian police officers. Registration information for the Alive at 25 Program can be found by clicking here.
"Meridian Police Department began its participation in Alive at 25 in 2012. Since then, over 6,000 young drivers have attended the classes," Lieutenant Mark Ford said. "This program has been a great opportunity to educate young drivers and save lives."
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