AAA says summer is the deadliest time for teen drivers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

AAA says summer is the deadliest time for teen drivers

Monday, four Washington teenagers died and a fifth was critically injured in a crash on State Highway 30 just west of Clatskanie, Oregon Monday, four Washington teenagers died and a fifth was critically injured in a crash on State Highway 30 just west of Clatskanie, Oregon

SPOKANE, Wash. - More than 5000 teenagers are killed in car crashes every year, and AAA says this time of year is especially deadly. 

Monday, four Washington teenagers died and a fifth was critically injured in a crash on State Highway 30 just west of Clatskanie, Oregon.      

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says the teenagers were in a westbound sport utility vehicle that collided with an eastbound van on Monday.      

The female SUV driver and three passengers died at the scene.

Police identified them as: 17-year-old Aja Gerrity, of Ridgefield, and three 18-year-old passengers, Amanda Williams, of Ridgefield; Jason Cary Carter, of Vancouver; and Richard Michael Araiza, of Ridgefield.      

Hastings said the remaining SUV passenger, 18-year-old Dustin Evan Leitzell, of Ridgefield, was taken by Life Flight Network to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland in critical condition.      

The van driver, 55-year-old Ki Young Kim of Vancouver, was taken by ambulance to a Longview, Washington, hospital. His injuries are described as serious.      

Hastings says the teen s had just graduated from Ridgefield High School.

AAA staff says summer is not only for teens because they're out of school and out on the road more, claiming they're less experienced and easily distracted.

Talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting are also huge distractions for teens.  Not to mention illegal in Washington.   AAA also says even using a headset can be distracting for teens.

So sit down with your child, talk to them about driving and create a safe plan.

In the next couple weeks as summer wraps up there will also be a lot of teens on the road headed to college.   WSU, Gonzaga and University of Idaho all start on the 24th.  Then in September there'll be another round of students coming in for Whitworth and Eastern.

Things driver's of all ages need to keep in mind, buckle up, drive the speed limit, and pay attention.

Cindi DeHoog
KHQ Reporter

(This story used content provided by The Associated Press)

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