WETHERSFIELD – National Teen Safe Driver week is a reminder that teens, parents and communities need to continue their efforts to raise awareness about safety to prevent motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading cause of death for teenagers, say state officials and safety advocates. National Teen Safe Driver week runs through Saturday (Oct. 18-24).
“As long as motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for American teenagers, everyone needs to help ensure our youngest, most inexperienced drivers have the knowledge to make responsible decisions when they get behind a wheel,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said. “We can reduce fatalities and accidents by raising awareness of how safe driving will protect lives, reduce crashes, injuries and deaths, and make our roads safer for all who use them.”
DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr., said that the message of safety needs to be repeated often through a variety of ways. He suggested that parents and teens set aside time this week to review the teen driving laws (http://1.usa.gov/1jxN2rE) and draw up a safety agreement (http://1.usa.gov/1MA7miP).
“Each year a new crop of 16 and 17 year-olds seek learner’s permits and safe driving becomes a big concern for their parents or caregivers. This continuous influx of young drivers is what makes repeated messages about safety awareness so important,” he said.
DMV, safety advocates and teens representing the agency’s Teen Advisory Board spoke today to a gym filled with students at Mercy High School in Middletown. They talked about the benefits and challenges ahead.
The state continues to see benefits from its strong teen driving measures (known as Graduated Driver Licensing Laws). Advocates credit this success to continuous attention in communities, in schools, in the media and in conversations between teens and their parents. Here are some achievements reached:
• No 16 or 17-year-old passenger deaths in 2014 for the first time in many years.
• Only one death among 16- and 17-year-old drivers who are governed by the state’s GDL program.
• There remains a 64-percent reduction in the deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers when comparing Connecticut from 1999 to 2003 before any restrictive teen driving laws to a recent period 2011-2014 after the state imposed more restrictions and training coupled with penalties for violating the laws.
• A recent study by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center shows the state’s GDL is reducing fatalities and that the teen driving laws are behind the reductions by limiting exposure to hazardous situations. The study also showed that violations of teen driving laws were found in half of all 16- and 17-year-old driver fatalities that did occur from 2008 to 2013.
Violations are one signal indicating that repeated safety messages are still needed. Parents remain the most influential factor in delivering those messages. This pivotal role of parents has become the focus of safe-driving campaigns, such as "5 to Drive," by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents and teens should use this week to discuss the “5 to Drive” safety points. They are:
1. No Drinking and Driving.
2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.
3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time.
Commissioner Ayala also pointed to DMV's statewide campaign for passenger safety, You're Not Just Along for The Ride - Safety Is Everyone's Responsibility, which involves parents, teen drivers and their passengers.
“We cannot focus on drivers alone. Their passengers are also important in keeping a car safe and we need to get that message out, too,” he said.
Content Last Modified on 10/20/2015 2:58:32 PM