From the time I was born until the time he died, my dad was a licensed funeral director and undertaker at James H. Davis Funeral Home.

And for a time in the mid-1970s, he was Daviess County's deputy coroner.

Because of that occupation, he kept a company phone at the house, and on nights when he was on call, that phone was turned on. It was a routine occurrence for it to ring in the middle of the night and he was gone.

He once told my mother how unnerving it was to get a death call about a traffic fatality involving a teen driver and my sister wasn't home. Of course, it was still deeply unsettling, losing someone so young.

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I recently reported on an unfortunate statistic regarding distracted driving in Kentucky. Sadly, that's not the end of it.

A GRIM REPORT FROM BUMPER.COM is a website that provides drivers with comprehensive vehicle and ownership history reports. Its data is collected from government agencies, insurance providers, and auto industry sources, among others.

Bumper relates the unfortunate reality that in 2020, traffic fatalities involving teen drivers reached their highest total in a dozen years. The estimates come from the National Safety Council, which reported more than 42,000 such accidents last year, reflecting an 8% increase over 2019.

What's more, Kentucky ranks #1 among fatalities per 10,000 licensed teen drivers, at 8.46%.

Further analysis reveals that speed, alcohol, and distractions were the leading causes. Tragically, that comes as no surprise.

Now that we have entered what experts refer to as the "100 deadliest days of summer," it is so important to have serious discussions with young people about driving habits. It's probably not a bad idea to put these numbers in front of them.

Summer should be the happiest time of the year, not the saddest.

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