HARTFORD, Conn. — Memorial Day Weekend was a busy one for Connecticut State Police. Troopers responded to almost 6,500 calls for service, including 359 car crashes, several of which were fatal.
"One of the most fatal car weekends this state has ever suffered," said Gov. Ned Lamont.
Twelve people were killed, ranging from ages 17 to 76.
This time of year is unfortunately known for being particularly dangerous on the roads. The time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the "100 Deadliest Days" for drivers.
"We have more people on our roads during the summer months and kids are out of school, they're traveling more, they're driving more so we've got an influx of teenagers on our roadways but we also have an influx of people traveling with family," said Tracy Noble, manager of public and government affairs for AAA.
The past couple of years have been some of the most dangerous on record.
"Last year was a horrendous year for traffic fatalities overall," said David Reich, public relations director for the National Road Safety Foundation. "Nationally we hit a 16-year high in terms of traffic deaths," he said.
That's why drivers are being encouraged to take steps to help keep everyone safe.
In two of the weekend's fatal crashes, those who died were not wearing seatbelts. A key safety measure that should be taken every time you get in the car.
"Making sure everybody in the vehicle is buckled up, including children in the appropriate child passenger seat," Noble said.
The National Road Safety Foundation is on a mission to make this the "Safest Summer Ever" partnering with Students Against Destructive Decisions to launch a campaign to offer advice for teen drivers, and everyone else on the roads.
Including, not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, putting away any distractions, and slowing down.
Speed is an issue that experts say got worse during the pandemic.
"Speeding is a big, big factor. Speeding accounts for about 26% of all traffic fatalities nationwide," Reich said. "A lot of people when they started seeing open roads when things shut down, many people were going at crazy speeds not just on the highways but even in residential areas. And unfortunately, that hasn't let up," he said.
Passengers play a role in safe driving as well.
"If you are a passenger and you're driving with somebody that makes you uncomfortable, say something even if that driver is your parent," Noble said.
State police said they gave out more tickets this Memorial Day weekend than in years past, for things like speeding and unsafe driving. They also made 37 DUI arrests.
Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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