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'100 Deadliest Days': The trend Iowa troopers are seeing in teen drivers

The three-month span between Memorial Day and Labor Day typically comes with an uptick in teen crashes and fatalities.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days," with Iowa State Patrol saying this comes after years of increases in teen fatalities and crashes during this timespan.

"Typically on a yearly basis, we have an average of about 30 teens that are killed here in the State of Iowa between 14 and 18 years of age," said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla.

Dinkla says of the averaged 30 teen roadway deaths a year, about 10 die in the "100 Deadliest Days" timespan.

"We want our teen drivers to really those risks, and the risks that they take increase their chances of being injured or killed in a crash," Dinkla said.

One of the risks troopers are seeing all drivers take is refusing to wear a seatbelt.

"Over 60% of the fatalities that we have here in the State of Iowa simply did not have a seatbelt on," Dinkla added. "Had they worn that seatbelt, there's a greater chance that they wouldn't have been killed or even injured at all in that crash."

"That is alarming," added National Road Safety Foundation Director of Operations Michelle Anderson. "A lot of teens that we've spoken to said that they don't feel it's necessary to wear a seatbelt. And we have to change that thinking."

Anderson says it's not just a lack of seatbelts, but the distractions taking teens' eyes off the road. 

"On average about 12% of car crash deaths for teens are due to texting and talking on their phones," Anderson said. "However, a larger amount is 15% of teen drivers and crashes are due to having multiple passengers in their vehicle."

These advocates stress parents should talk with their kids about their safety expectations behind the wheel not only for them, but their friends. They encourage parents to empower their kids to speak up if they feel their friends aren't being responsible behind the wheel.

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