For Immediate Release
October 23, 2018
DMV Promotes National Teen Safe Driver Week and Statewide Video Contest
Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Michael Bzdyra today recognized National Teen Driver Safety Week by urging teens to take a moment to make safer decisions behind the wheel. Teens and novice drivers are statistically more prone to accidents that impact their passengers, their families and themselves.
This year’s Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through October 27, is the force behind the annual DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest for Connecticut high school students. This year’s theme, “Wait – What Can We Do?” focuses on teen drivers collaborating to follow the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws for 16-and 17-year-olds. Those GDL laws were strengthened 10 years ago and continue to help make Connecticut’s roads safer.
“National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great time for parents, teachers and teen drivers to all have a conversation about being responsible and making better decisions behind the wheel,” DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra said.
Although car crashes are still the leading cause of U.S. teen deaths, statistics show the GDL laws in Connecticut are making a difference. Fatal crashes involving 16-and 17-year-old drivers were more than 150 percent higher when the state had more lenient teen driving laws.
After the GDL laws were passed, teen car crash fatalities went from an average of 18 annually in 2001-2007 to seven per year in 2009-2017, according to Dr. Neil Chaudhary, a transportation researcher of the Preusser Research Group based in Trumbull. “The relatively strong novice driver laws in Connecticut are one, likely big, piece of the puzzle explaining why our teen driver crashes are trending down compared to the nation.”
DMV and Travelers partner each year to raise driving safety awareness and promote the GDL laws among the state’s youngest and most inexperienced drivers. The goal is to influence peer-to-peer interactions to promote safer driving habits.
Travelers will award up to $26,000 in cash prizes to the winning students and their high schools. The contest is open to all public, private and home-schooled high school students in Connecticut and the deadline for submissions is December 17, 2018.
The DMV Teen Advisory Board came up with the theme for the DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest. The board consists of 14 Connecticut high school students.
“This year’s theme, ‘Wait – What Can We do?’ was chosen to inspire teens to produce videos that focus on careful decision-making between them and the passengers,” said Samantha Getsie, a DMV
Teen Advisory Board member and student at Berlin High School. “The purpose of the contest is to create safer driving habits by raising awareness of the importance of safe driving. Driving is privilege and we should all remember we share the responsibility of being safe drivers.”