For Immediate Release
March 13, 2017
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman Announces Winners
in DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest
Videos help raise awareness as teen driver crashes increase
HARTFORD – Connecticut Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman today announced the top three high school winners in the 2017 DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest, where teens focused on the dangers of distracted driving and other perils using the theme "One Split Second." Weston High School earned first place with its video portraying a young driver who turns back time following a crash while driving and using a cellphone.
The second-place winner was Haddam-Killingworth High School, followed by East Lyme High School in third place. Today's announcement was made at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. Additional awards will be presented at an April 13 ceremony hosted by Travelers.
"I applaud these young people for getting involved. Teens talking to teens is an important part of the safe driving conversation; it will help keep our roads safer for everyone. Congratulations to our winners — and thanks to all the students who participated," said Lt. Governor Wyman.
The video contest's safety messages are especially important following a report last fall by the national Governors Highway Safety Association showing teenager-involved road deaths increased nationally by 10 percent in 2015 compared to previous years, said DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra.
When looking at the last two years, Connecticut saw a nearly nine-percent increase in crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers; a year earlier, there was a 7.4-percent increase in the state. Crashes involving 16- and 17-year old drivers in Connecticut rose to 4,399 in 2016 from 4,040 in 2015. Both the national and state increases are likely attributed to an improving economy, lower fuel prices, more teen drivers on the road and better reporting of crashes.
"The cause of the increased crashes may be related to economic factors, but that does not mitigate the seriousness of the increase. The fact is, our youngest drivers are crashing more often and are involved in more crashes that cause injuries," said Neil Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer of Preusser Research Group, a Trumbull-based firm that conducts transportation research studies nationwide.
The DMV-Travelers video contest used the theme "One Split Second" to encourage teens in high schools statewide to think about decisions that could cause a crash in an instant. More than 400 students from nearly 40 schools participated, submitting more than 150 videos. The theme was developed by 12 student advisors to the contest and DMV.
Many videos featured some kind of safety precaution about distracted driving, a problem that a majority of Americans see as something that other people do much more than they do themselves. The 2016 Travelers Risk Index, an annual measurement of Americans' feelings about risk in their daily lives, found that 76 percent of people are very concerned about another driver's distractions causing a crash, yet only 33 percent worry about getting into an accident due to their own distracted driving.
“We are proud to be a part of the DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest each year, which gives teens a platform to talk to each other about changing behaviors and safer driving,” said Eric Nordquist, Senior Vice President of Product Management for Personal Insurance at Travelers. “Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who participated in the ongoing effort to raise awareness about the importance of staying focused behind the wheel.”
These videos will be used to raise teens’ safety awareness through peer-to-peer conversation. For instance, the Weston High School video will be featured in advertising by the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Governor’s Highway Safety Office. DOT is a leader in the state in preventative measures to stop distracted driving and has received federal grants to study the behavior among motorists.
Governor’s Highway Safety representative Tom Maziarz said, “The Department of Transportation shares the goal of DMV and other stakeholders to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities among teen drivers by increasing awareness and helping them make smart and responsible choices while driving.”
A recent DMV survey of students involved in the video contest during the last nine years found that 60 percent said their participation helped them prevent crashes and dangerous driving with others. In addition, 55 percent said their participation later led them to proactively inform other teens about the state's teen driving laws.
View the winning videos: First Place
Weston High SchoolWatch Video Here
Nathan Katz (student director), with Michael Bogaev, Andrew Harwood and Alex McCall Second Place
Haddam-Killingworth High School
Watch Video Here
Markus Trahan (student director), with Rachel Senechal, Josh White and Aidan Korper Third Place
East Lyme High School
Watch Video Here
Gregory Stewart (student director), with Daniel Sackett and Yalley Sackett