WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer — and a dangerous time of year for young drivers.

AAA representatives, state officials and members of Connecticut State Police gathered on Wednesday outside the AAA location in West Hartford with driving safety reminders.

“The 100 deadliest days are ahead of us,” Tony Guerrera, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, said. “When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, that vehicle can become a weapon. That vehicle could kill you or someone else.”

Guerrera said that teens are out on the road more frequently this time of year. According to the UConn Crash Data Repository, in 2022 drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 were involved in 32 hundred crashed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Those accidents resulted in 16 fatalities and 45 serious injuries.

Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that new drivers ages 16 and 17 are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash.

“The good news is that these crashes are preventable,” Alec Slatky, the managing director for public and government affairs for AAA Northeast said. “We know that smart policies, education and enforcement can save lives.

It’s estimated that distractions can play a role in 6 out of 10 teen crashes. AAA said the following distractions can be particularly dangerous for inexperienced drivers.

  • Driving with other teen passengers
  • Using in-car entertainment or navigation systems
  • Using phones

With no school during the summer months, driving safety experts recommend parents enroll teens in a driving education course.