NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion N Palm Beach CountyJupiter


Memorial Day kicks off '100 deadliest days of summer'

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 23:52:17-04

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's a summer of distraction.

The Memorial Day holiday marks the start of the “100 deadliest days of summer” driving season. According to AAA, teen-driver involved crashes kill 10 people a day during these 100 days until Labor Day weekend.

A recent study also shows 90% of Americans say there are more distractions on the road now than there were five years ago.

It's a reality Jim Choban is all too familiar with working as a driving instructor for the Safety Council of Palm Beach, a non-profit which offers drivers education courses to students across Palm Beach County free of charge.

“One out of every four traffic accidents is the result of a distraction on the road," he said.

He also helps teach students what not to do, especially when it comes to distracted driving. Students are told to put their phones in the trunk while they're driving in the instructional car.

“We point out drivers that use the cellphone, swerving around a little bit," said Choban.

He knows this summer is not one to mess around with.

“Almost everybody now has a three-day weekend so they’re driving. We have all the parties that are out there, and throw the alcohol on top of that," he said.

He says so many people can be distracted with anything in their car and our observations proved that to be true.

We've seen people eating lunch behind the wheel, talking on the phone, going over documents, and even playing the trumpet!

Texting and driving is the most common distraction we've witnessed.

“One out of every three drivers readily admit to using a cellphone while they drive,” said Choban.

Despite smartphones creating more distractions, app technology is catching up when it comes to safety.

“There are even apps now that you can put on your phone while you’re driving, that when the phone rings, the app comes on and tells the person on the other end of the line that you’re driving and to leave a message,” said Choban.

Those apps include Lifesaver, Safedrive, Drivemode, Cellcontrol, and Textlimit. Click here for more details.

Meanwhile, the Town of Jupiter Police Department said their officers are actively cracking down on anyone endangering lives on the roads.

“We do have our traffic enforcement out, spread out all across the town, said Officer O’Neil Anderson. "As a result of our traffic unit being out and visible, educating people and enforcement, -- our traffic crashes are down 17.4% compared to the first four months of last year, as well as our fatalities - which are down by 75 percent."

He said the department is taking citizen requests so if you see something, say something.

"If someone sees maybe a motorist that might be a danger, they can call us and our traffic units are spread out so that they can respond," he said.

On distracted driving, police are encouraging people to put their phone down -- a life could depend on it.

"Your reaction time is very important and just for a split second, if you take a look at your cellphone or a text message, it definitely impedes your ability to react to a hazard on the road, or a pedestrian or bicyclist," said Officer Anderson.

Officer Anderson also couldn’t stress enough for people to use the rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft if they’re drinking.

The National Safety Council is predicting about 380 people to die across the U.S. in crashes this weekend alone. NSC estimates an additional 43,300 people may be seriously injured on the roads over the long weekend.

Police don’t want you to be one of them.

“If people are enjoying themselves throughout the weekend and throughout the year, just be responsible,” said Officer Anderson.

The Click It Or Ticketcampaign is also happening throughout the month of May until June 2, so don’t forget to buckle up.

If you or your child would like to sign up for a free driver's education or driver's improvement course, contact the Safety Council of Palm Beach by clicking here.