Highways Deadly During Summer Months

Families and children are at the greatest risk of fatal car crashes from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but there are ways to keep your family safe.

Tara Hewitt and her family are lucky to be alive. A home video shows what was left of their SUV after it was broad sided by a car that ran a red light.

Her eight-month-old daughter and three-year-old son were in the back seat. She and her husband were in the front. Tara says seat belts and car seats saved their lives.

“We were upside-down and the kids were hanging upside-down in their car seats, but they were all very scared, but they were okay,” says Tara.

Tragically, thousands of families are not so lucky, especially in the summer months. A new report says nearly 13,000 Americans will die in car crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and experts say many of those deaths could be prevented.

Six out of 10 kids killed over the last Memorial Day weekend weren’t properly buckled in, and although most parents use car seats, 75 percent of them aren’t correctly installed. Other contributing factors to deadly summer driving were alcohol use, speeding, distracted drivers eating, on the cell phone or yelling at kids when they should be watching the road, and driver fatigue.

Parents with kids are six times more likely drive home from a long trip while exhausted than people without kids.

MAJ Ernesto Duarte of the Florida Highway Patrol says drowsy drivers can be deadly.

“People tend to push their limits and try to save a hotel night or try to get there a little bit sooner, and ultimately they not only place themselves in danger but all the passengers as well as the other vehicles around them,” says Duarte.

Tara Hewitt says her life changed forever that Saturday afternoon two years ago, and now her family will never forget to buckle up.

According to the Highway Patrol, 46 people were killed in 41 fatal crashes on Florida roads over the Memorial Day holiday last year.