From October 20 to the 26th, National Teen Driver Safety Week has called attention to the higher accident and fatality risks for new drivers. Congress began the campaign seven years ago as an effort to enforce safe teen driver and passenger behavior, and for 2013, theme “It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving” emphasized that parents must stay involved even after a child obtains a license.
In Connecticut, the week opened with an event at Mercy High School in Middletown, in which state officials, including Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Melody Currey, state Attorney General George Jepsen, and members of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, and a trauma surgeon from St. Francis Hospital touched on points about road safety, including for both the driver and passengers.
Specifically, Connecticut’s event discussed texting and driving and passenger safety. While a greater risk exists for teen drivers, passengers also get hurt in accidents.
In addition to these points, National Teen Driver Safety Week advised parents to continue being involved in their child’s driving education, even after a child receives a license. Specifically, involvement helps teens become more competent behind the wheel, and events further honed in on the issue of handling varied conditions, from driving in the dark to bad weather to getting on and off a highway.
According to a study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, teens 15 to 17 years of age have the greatest likelihood of being involved in a traffic accident. As well, although figures decreased in recent years, traffic accidents remain the top cause of deaths for teens.
Tying into the issues National Teen Driver Safety Week shed light on, Connecticut requires parental involvement to a degree before a teen receives his or her license. Specifically, parents or guardians attend a two-hour training class before the teen earns a driver’s license.
Along with this factor, state laws younger drivers pose further restrictions for teens who just started driving, including that he or she cannot have friends in his or her vehicle for at least a year after being issued a driver’s license.