LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Summer vacation is the most exciting time for teenagers, but sadly it’s also the deadliest. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for kids 15 to 18 years old in the United States, and June 1 starts the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer for teen drivers.

Teen drivers and passenger deaths not only spike during the summertime, but between Memorial Day and Labor Day they are up 43 percent compared to the rest of the year, according to AAA. Over 6,400 people died in teen driving-related crashes during that time period from 2011 to 2020 nationwide.

The most recent statistics show the 100 deadliest days of summer became 20 percent more deadly between 2019 to 2020, and out of all 50 states, Arkansas has the seventh-highest rate of deadly teen crashes.

Here are a few things that will keep drivers safe on the road:

• Avoid Texting and Driving

• Slow Down and Drive the Speed Limit

• Wear your Seat Belt

• Avoid Driving Impaired

• Also make sure your brakes, tire tread, and other parts of your car are properly maintained.

The Center for Disease Control says the risk of a crash multiplies with each teen or young adult passenger in the car with a teen driver. According to Robert Bennett, Thompson Driving Director of Education, even more effective than telling kids the facts is changing their mentality.

“Drive like your mother and dad are riding with you. Drive like your mother and dad are depending on you. It’s a little mindset technique, and everybody can do that because everybody has somebody, everybody cares about somebody, so pretend they’re in your car,” Bennett advised.

Our news team had the chance to someone off-camera who remembered four of her North Little Rock High classmates dying in a car crash in 2010. She said it’s something that always stays with you and urged people to remember their safe driving not only protects themselves but the families of total strangers.