For Immediate Release
October 18, 2016
Connecticut Marks National Teen Safe Driver Week (Oct. 16-22)
Parents, Teens and Communities Urged to Raise Awareness on Driving Safety
WETHERSFIELD – In one second teen drivers who are behind the wheel can make a decision that can change the direction of their lives. National Teen Safe Driver week, which runs through Saturday, brings that message to communities across the state by reminding them safety must come first.
It also follows the theme, “One Split Second…”, of the DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video contest. It focuses on having teens make videos about keeping safe despite temptations that could endanger their lives and those of others.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in U.S. teenagers. Connecticut adopted in 2008 more stringent teen driving laws to raise awareness and reduce crashes, injuries and deaths. The state has seen an 82-percent reduction in fatalities for 16 and 17 year-old drivers from a high of 11 in 2002 and to an average of two per year since the tougher laws began.
"As long as motor vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of death for American teenagers, everyone needs to do their part to ensure our youngest, and most inexperienced drivers have the knowledge to make responsible decisions when they get behind a wheel," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "All drivers, no matter their age or experience, should do their part to help reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths associated with distracted driving by remaining focused on the task at hand - operating your motor vehicle safely when under your control."
State Attorney General George Jepsen said, "National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great time to encourage conversations with new and soon-to-be drivers about the importance of safe driving habits. Parents, teachers, advocates and even peers all play a role in helping to make sure that teens make safe choices when operating motor vehicles."
Members of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Teen Advisory Board said the week is important for a variety of reasons, and encourages teens to play an active role in promoting safety behind the wheel.
“One second represents when we make a driving decision, be it a good or bad one,” said Armani Nieves, a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford and member of the DMV Teen Advisory Board. “It only takes one second to be a good or bad driver.”
Maggie Silbo, a junior at Mercy High School and a member of the teen advisory board, said teen drivers can lead by example in many ways.
“To be safe drivers, teens should follow the rules of the road, such as not talking or texting on the phone, obeying the posted speed limits and following the passenger restriction laws,” Silbo said.
Angela Zhu, a senior at Cheshire High School, said teenagers can play an active role as responsible passengers.
“It's all about awareness,” said Zhu, also a member of the DMV Teen Advisory Board. “All it takes is one small sentence. If you really care about your friends, simply tell them to put down the phone.”
The DMV Teen Advisory Board also came up with the theme for this year’s DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video contest: “One Split Second…” The board designed the theme to engage teens to produce a video on how a split-second decision related to driving can make a difference in the lives of these youngest drivers.
“I believe it is crucial to promote the message of safe driving for teens, especially as there are even more distractions on the road today,” said Kojo Appiah, a senior at Xavier High School in Middletown and a member of the DMV Teen Advisory Board. “This video contest is an exciting activity that teens can do with your peers while learning the life lessons and responsibilities of being a safe driver.”
“This is an important week because it’s a reminder to teens, parents and communities who can all be positive influences for safe driving in a variety of ways,” Commissioner Bzdyra said. “This is a great time to discuss safe driving at home, in the classroom or anywhere else to promote good choices related to driving and help ensure teens follow the rules of the road.”
Henry Edinger, Chief Customer Officer at Travelers, said, “We are proud to support the Connecticut DMV’s safe driving initiatives, especially during National Teen Safe Driving Week. It only takes a split second for an accident to occur while driving, so we are encouraged to see teens talking to their peers about being smart behind the wheel and helping to make Connecticut’s roads safer.”