December 14, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Attn. Eds: See attached study and
DMV Endorses Proposal for Linking Information on
Teen Driving Laws to High School Parking Privileges
Another Way to Raise Safety Awareness
WETHERSFIELD -- The Department of Motor Vehicles is endorsing an injury prevention center’s proposal to link information about the state’s teen driving laws to high school parking privileges following a study showing the need for more safety awareness.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s injury prevention division in a recent study found that only 14 percent of 122 schools surveyed in Connecticut referenced these laws in school parking pass applications (PPA). The center is suggesting schools across the state use the same application that includes information about the laws also known as Graduated Driver Licensing laws (GDL).
In addition, the center’s study found some schools may have unintentionally suggested that teens could ride with other teens when going to school activities. State teen driving laws prohibit carrying friends or passengers other than parents or driving instructor during the first year after receiving a license. After six months only siblings can ride with a 16- or 17-year-old driver.
“We applaud Connecticut Children’s for its study and for pro-actively promoting with schools, students and parents who sign the application an increased awareness about the teen driving laws,” said DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Trauma, many Connecticut high schools need to avoid the appearance of condoning unsafe activities prohibited by the teen driving laws.
“Some of the PPAs in our study included content that allowed teens to ride as a passenger or drive other students to off campus events or activities,” according to the authors. “If checked yes by the parent, that allows the teen driver, with the school’s approval to be non-compliant with the state’s GDL law.”
“They also can give the impression that off-campus events/activities are an exception to teen driver laws and passenger restrictions which they are not… most of the PPAs did not include any reference to the state’s teen driving law and can reasonably be construed by many parents as encouraging and/or authorizing a high risk practice, teens driving with other teen passengers,” the authors wrote.
Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and co-author of the study, said the findings are important. He knows of no other study done connecting high school parking with teen driving law awareness.
"Only 14% of Connecticut high schools include information about teen driver safety laws on their parking pass applications. They also need to avoid looking like they allow unsafe driving activities. We strongly suggest that all schools adopt a model form that includes information about Connecticut's teen graduated driver licensing laws in an effort to promote teen driving safety," said Lapidus.
Connecticut Children’s survey of parking passes went to 233 schools across the state. About 65 schools reported not using parking permits or prohibited student parking at the school. The 122 schools responding to the survey sent by Connecticut Children’s provided a copy of their application for evaluation.