RIVERVIEW, Fla. - September has been a deadly month on the roadways for teens in Hillsborough County. So far this month, four teenagers have been killed in car crashes.
Last year, wrecks claimed the life of just one teen in the county. The Hillsborough County sheriff said it's a sobering reminder for parents to talk to their teen drivers.
On Wednesday, detectives said two people were killed in Riverview: an 18-year-old and 15-year-old.
Detectives said the 18-year-old driver ran a red light and hit a truck through the intersection at Valley Dale Drive and Progress Boulevard. The driver of the pickup truck was not injured.
Earlier this week, a 17-year-old driver in Pasco County slammed into the back of a tow truck that was stopped in the shoulder of Interstate 75. The driver survived, but a 17-year-old passenger was killed by the impact.
In early September, three young people were killed when they crashed into another vehicle at an intersection in Westchase. Detectives said the driver had run a red light. All three people inside the vehicle were ejected and died.
A few days before the Westchase crash, an 18-year-old Armwood High School student was killed when a 16-year-old driver, who had a learner's permit, lost control of their vehicle and struck a tree. Detectives said the driver was speeding.
“These teens had their whole ahead of them, they were so young and one mistake led to this tragedy,” said sheriff’s office spokesperson Natalia Verdina. “We believe these accidents could have been prevented.”
According to AAA, teen drivers are at a higher risk for crashes, not only due to inexperience, but also because they're far more likely to engage in risky behavior.
Wednesday's crash prompted Sheriff Chad Chronister to ask parents to have a serious talk with their kids about distracted and risky driving, saying one bad decision can change lives forever.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of these young victims that are facing a parent's worst nightmare," Chronister said in a statement. "We urge parents to talk to their teens about safety on the roadways and remind our young drivers to be cautious and fully aware of the responsibility that lies in their hands the moment they get behind the wheel. One bad decision can lead to tragedy."
Officials say parents are the best line of defense to keep teenagers safe on the road. They recommend talking to your children early and often about the responsibility that comes with the car keys. Then teaching by example.
Experts also suggest laying out rules for teen drivers and establishing a parent-teen driving agreement that includes penalties if those rules are broken.