ATLANTA - Heading into the summer months, the 100 deadliest days for teens is now underway. It's the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when crashes are more likely. About a third of fatal crashes involves teen drivers happen during the summer months.
The dangers for young people behind the wheel during the summer is something Mike Lutzenkirchen knows all too well.
His son Philip, a star football player at both Lassiter High School and Auburn University, was riding in the car with friends in June 2014 when the car flew in a ditch. The family says the driver was speeding. They also say Philip was not wearing his seatbelt and was killed at just 23 years old.
"I don't use the term accident. All of the decisions that were made that weekend by Philip and his friends that were in the vehicle. There were four kids. They were choices. They were poor choices, so it's called a crash," Mike Lutzenkirchen, executive director of the Lutzie 43 Foundation, said.
He's now made it his mission to help others make better decisions behind the wheel through his Lutzie 43 Foundation. (https://lutzie43.org/)
According to AAA, traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for teens ages 16 to 19.
In Georgia, AAA said about 89 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes each year, 25 of those during the summer months.
Those crashes result in about 96 deaths each year, 28 during the 100 deadliest days.
"They may be heading to fun events versus school, or practices, so quite frankly, I think they let their discipline down, let their guard down a little bit," Mike Lutzenkirchen
According to AAA distracted driving, other teens in the car, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt can all play a role in summer crashes.
"Statistically had Philip had a seatbelt on, no matter where he was in that vehicle, he'd be alive today, statistically," Lutzenkirchen said.
Lutzenkirchen encourages parents to set a time to drive with their kids to see how they're acting behind the wheel.
"Get back in that car with your kids, where you're sitting in that front passenger seat, acting as the driver's ed. Teacher, and let that child demonstrate to you their behaviors behind the wheel," Mike Lutzenkirchen explained.
Experts say it's important for parents to lead by example as well by putting your phone away, buckling up, and avoiding distractions. They say it's something kids can notice to notice even before they can drive.