As a personal injury law firm in Connecticut, Trantolo & Trantolo takes on cases concerning truck, motorcycle, and car accidents. Unfortunately, injuries are only one of the repercussions of a serious car accident; endless haggling and struggling with the insurance company to fully pay a claim is the other facet. During this time, medical bills mount up and earnings diminish, and you need to decipher the insurance industry jargon of your policy. Working with a lawyer streamlines and adds clarity to the process.
Yet, before the aftermath of an accident accelerates to this point or beyond, stricter driving laws act as a control measure on the road. August 2012 is the fourth anniversary of tougher teen driving laws being introduced in Connecticut. After the state saw a high of driving-related teen deaths in 2007, new laws went into place in 2008, requiring more thorough training, parental participation, greater driving restrictions, and steeper penalties for 16- and 17-year-olds. Specifically, the changes included an 11 p.m. curfew, penalties for violating curfew, extended driver’s education, and, prior to being issued a license, a parent-teen information session about safe driving. Since the laws went into effect in 2008, further modifications have been made, including banning teen cellphone use, including hands-free devices, in vehicles, and restricting passengers to parents.
Over the past four years, teen driving-related fatalities have improved in Connecticut, even more than in other states. After seven deaths in 2007, that amount dropped to one in 2011. Nationally, as other states have enacted similar measures, the drop has been 26 percent; in Connecticut, it was 34 percent.
Added to the new laws is increased awareness through the DMV’s teen safe driving video contest. Already, five teens across the state are creating a campaign for 2013. About this and the new laws, Connecticut DMV Commissioner Melody Currey stated to the press: “I think these laws continue to show Connecticut’s forward-looking approaches to positive results in protecting the youngest and most inexperienced of our drivers.”
Regardless of who is on the road, August is considered the most dangerous month for drivers. Connecticut’s laws, however, are hardly unique. 15 other states and Washington, D.C. prevent teens from driving with a peer, while other states prohibit having more than one other passenger in the car. South Carolina and Idaho go even farther with their restrictions. South Carolina bans teen drivers on the road after 6 p.m. in winter and 8 p.m. in summer. Idaho has a sundown to sunup ban on teen driving. New Jersey, as well, has been striving for red car decals to make identifying teen drivers easier.
As the New York Times points out, such laws have a basis extending beyond proliferation of accidents in recent years. Studies indicate that teens overshoot their driving abilities and do not fully consider the hazards of the road. Teens, as well, do not have the multitasking abilities of adults. As a result, talking on cellphones is a greater hazard when a teen is behind the wheel. As far as passengers are concerned, risks of a crash increase by 44 percent with one passenger and increase four times with three or more passengers.