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Memorial Day Weekend: The Unofficial Start Of The 100 Deadliest Days For Teen Drivers

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s one of the busiest travel weekends of the year and one of the most dangerous for young drivers in Maryland.

Chances are you or someone you know will be on the road this holiday weekend. It’s one of the more popular times to travel and also one of the most dangerous.

About 35 million Americans are predicted to get behind the wheel, 840,000 more than last year.

The spike in traffic also guarantees more traffic at hospitals.

“They’re really at risk for bad outcomes, crashes,” says Dr. Richard Lichenstein of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dr. Lichenstein sees it every Memorial Day Weekend. The start of the 100 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers.

Parent Cliff Tompkins knows the risks better than anyone.

“I always felt, I still feel, that I’m an above average driver. I thought I taught my daughter everything she needed to know,” Tompkins says.

On a family trip in 2005, he learned even that wasn’t enough. His 17-year-old was driving when someone cut in front of their car.

“She tried to correct and didn’t have the experience, and over-corrected and lost control. We rolled into the median. My youngest son was 7, and he didn’t survive,” he says.

This Memorial Day, he has a message for parents.

“You don’t want to live with the pain of the guilt the rest of your life that you didn’t do everything in your power to prepare and protect your teen driver. Get engaged. Stay engaged. They need it.”

In the last five years, crashes involving teenagers have killed 5,000 people just during the 100 day stretch of summer.

Area restaurant customers will be getting a safe driving message on their takeout bags this weekend.

Partnering with the University of Maryland Medical Center are Miss Shirley’s, Green Turtle and Roy Rogers. They will put stickers on their bags with the message: “practice driving with your teen.”

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