Congratulations, high school seniors.

You made it through all those years of working hard while someone grades you.

Bet you're glad that's over, right?

Heh, heh.

Seriously, though ...

Many of you will be taking a breather over the summer before heading off to either further your education or jump right on in to the work force.

Good for you. You've earned it.

Have fun.

But not too much -- and be careful about it.

In particular, pay attention while you're on the road.

We've just recently entered what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls the "100 deadliest days" for teen drivers, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Traditionally, this is when teen traffic deaths spike.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 422 teens die in crashes in each of the summer months compared to an average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.

Felicity Erni, one of the leaders of the Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving Coalition, calls the numbers unacceptable -- because they're so preventable.

One of the big dangers for teen drivers, and one of the most preventable, are distractions, according to AAA's foundation.

In a study released last year, the organization found a 16- or 17-year-old driver's risk of death per mile driven increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21 (and no older passengers). The risk is double when carrying two passengers younger than 21, and quadruples when carrying three or more passengers that age.


Another risk is technology: According to the study, 43 percent admit to texting while driving.

Pennsylvania's teen driving law addresses these distractions by limiting the number of minor passengers and bans the use of cellphones behind the wheel -- but only for junior drivers.

Drivers 18 and over -- like many of you recent graduates -- are no longer bound by these restrictions, although the risks still remain.

That means it's your responsibility to keep yourself and others safe while you're celebrating this summer.

Society is going to start treating you like the adults you are from now on.

Please make sure you act the part.