For Immediate Release
April 8, 2014
State Officials, Safety Advocates Launch Program
Targeting Teen Driver-Passenger Safety
“You’re NOT Just Along for The Ride” Program Funded with State Farm Grant
HARTFORD - Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Melody Currey, and other safety advocates today announced the launch of a year-long teen driver-passenger safety program: "You're NOT Just Along for The Ride. Safety is EVERYONE'S Responsibility." Funded through a $14,000 State Farm grant, the program couples safety awareness for drivers and passengers and prevention of underage drinking and distracted driving.
“With students gearing up for graduation and other celebrations, it is the perfect time to remind teens of their responsibility behind the wheel,” said Lt Governor Wyman. “We’ve lost too many young people to drinking and distracted driving—it’s so important that drivers, and passengers understand their role in keeping our roadways safe for everyone.”
In May through August 2012, seven crashes killed four drivers ages 17-19 and six passengers ages 15-18. These accidents sparked a renewed debate about whether the laws were doing enough to prevent deadly teen crashes.
"With this time of celebration and the summer season approaching, we thought the start of this campaign could be a jump-start to reminding students, parents and communities that safety is everyone's responsibility," said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey.
"We also want to involve all teen drivers and their passengers, not just those 16 and 17 who are subject to the special teen driving laws. All drivers between 16 and 19 are the most inexperienced on our roads and passenger safety is critical with all of them," she said.
For this 16-to-19 age group, there have been 2,678 crashes since August 1, 2008 when passenger restrictions began for the youngest of these drivers (16 and 17 year-olds). In those crashes, 3,463 passengers sustained injuries and another 26 were killed, according to the University of Connecticut crash data system.
Jennifer Young, Community Relations Specialist for State Farm applauded the DMV's comprehensive approach to vehicle safety. "State Farm sees this as a model for other states to follow,"she said. "Educating teen drivers, passengers and their families will help every community become better educated and safer, which is a part of our company's mission."
DMV has coordinated a partnership with other safety advocates to increase passenger awareness about vehicle safety as well as reminding teen drivers about their responsibilities for passengers. This effort involves other highway safety advocates as well as four select schools who would model a special program for possible use statewide in the coming years.
Partners include the State Department of Transportation, State Farm, AAA, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Mourning Parents Act, the Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.
High Schools involved are Daniel Hand in Madison, Danbury High School and Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willimantic. In addition, the campaign will be part of Glastonbury community-wide effort to raise awareness about teen driving safety.
Here are the program highlights:
- New roll-call video for state and local police to review the teen driving laws, passenger safety issues and distracted driving. It will include information about the 48-license suspension for violating the teen driving laws, such as the passenger restriction measure.
- Brochure on passenger safety for distribution online; to all new licensees/parents after road test; and to driving schools for reference in their parent-teen two-hour required safety training session.
- Passenger and Teen Driver Safety Mobile App with specific content geared toward teen driver, passenger and parent information and would be hosted on DMV and other safety partner websites.
- Select school/community outreach to test model for increasing awareness about teen driving laws and passenger safety.
o Posters for schools, public buildings, businesses.
o Joint parent-teen program for review of laws, passenger safety tips, etc. in conjunction with other safety advocates.
o Promotion bracelets, similar to others raising awareness about specific causes
o Banner for school.
o Other special activities as planned at each school.
o Billboards and other public service announcements as donated by contributions of sponsors.