BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — According to AAA, From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is a sharp increase in fatal crashes involving young adult and teen drivers. AAA calls this the "100 deadliest days".
As school lets out for summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for some of the most dangerous driving days of the year.
Jessica Magee was the sole survivor of a deadly car crash involving a drunk driver, which killed two of her friends on Rosedale Highway back in August 30, 2014.
“We weren’t the ones drinking but we were the ones affected by it the most,” said Magee. "I was severely burned, and the car caught on fire and my arm got the most of it and the skin on my arm is from my leg.”
The drunk driver, Dontrell Collins, received 30 years to life, plus 30 years to life plus a determinant term of 13 years 4 months. Collins must serve 73 years in the California Department of Corrections before he is eligible for parole and he is also responsible for paying restitution to the victim's families.
Magee is now involved with M.A.D.D, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, where she along with others educate young adults on safe driving.
According to statistics from M.A.D.D Kern County and the Kern County District Attorney's office, in 2018 there were over 4,000 DUI’s in Kern County and that has been increasing yearly since 2000.
“The statistics are frankly embarrassing for our county,” said Matthew Clark, local attorney and member of M.A.D.D advisory board in Kern County. “It's embarrassing that we live in a county in California where you are likely to die in a drunk driving accident than almost any other county in the country.”
Officials say there is an average of 10 people a day who are killed nationwide. A 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.
According to AAA, the 100 deadliest days is not just about driving under the influence. Officials say driving behavior greatly increases the risk of a crash. That includes distracted driving, driving for longer periods of time and the number and ages of passengers in the car.
“The stats related to drunk driving accidents in Kern County says it more likely that someone aged 18 to 22 is more likely to be involved in a drunk driving accident,” Clark said.
AAA recommends that parents with young drivers should have strict household rules and enforce driving limits.
For more information on the 100 deadliest days of summer, follow this link.