As travel restrictions start to ease and motorists return to the roads, so begins the season the AAA calls the "100 Deadliest Days" — the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when teen drivers are most at risk.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble said her group typically sees more fatal crashes on Jersey roadways during the 100 Deadliest Days. People are usually traveling more. Kids are out of school and going to and from summer jobs, and not having regimented schedules.

Total Traffic has told New Jersey 101.5 that roadway use remains a fraction of its normal rate during pre-pandemic times. But with restrictions easing — Gov. Phil Murphy announced more retail and dining would open this month — it remains to be seen how many cars hit the roads this summer.

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In the past 10 years, during the 100 Deadliest Days, Noble said there were almost 100 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes on New Jersey roadways. In addition to that, 112 people were killed in those fatal crashes.

She said teen drivers are most at risk in these crashes because they just don't have the experience on their side. AAA is encouraging parents to practice as much as possible with their teen drivers. Noble said not only do teens have to know how to navigate their own neighborhoods, but they need to know how to merge onto state highways and how to anticipate what other drivers are doing.

"Parents remain the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel," Noble. said. They should educate their teen drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and the impairing effects of drugs and alcohol.

But parents should also lead by example, and refrain from engaging in risky driving behaviors, she said.

New Jersey does a good job to protect teen drivers on roadways, Noble said.

"We have a very robust graduated drivers' licensing program and New Jersey is one of the top states in the nation where that is concerned," she said.

Passenger restrictions, nighttime restrictions and red sticker decals are all tools that are keeping teen drivers safe, she said. But Noble said New Jersey is lacking is a practice hour requirement present in all but four states. She said she's hoping to see that change in the near future.

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