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DMV Report: Teen Driving a Lot Safer in Past Decade

The study finds that a reduction in deaths, injuries and crashes among teen drivers has coincided with the passage 10 years ago of tough restrictions.

Credit: Department of Motor Vehicles
Credit: Department of Motor Vehicles

A news release from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles:

As January marks the 10th anniversary for Connecticut imposing restrictions and stronger safety standards on teen drivers, a recent DMV analysis shows these standards have brought large decreases in crashes, injuries and deaths in the last decade.

When comparing deaths and injuries before and after these laws took effect, the analysis shows an overall average of more than a 60-percent reduction in crashes, deaths and injuries among 16- and 17-year-old drivers. This analysis also found that teen drivers 16 to 19 die or are injured twice as often as passengers.

The information is contained the newly compiled 2013 DMV Report on Teen Safe Driving in Connecticut. (See attached) It reviews a wide range of issues pertaining to driving habits and views toward driving of the 16- to 19 year-old age group.

“In Connecticut, we must do our best to protect our youngest and most vulnerable drivers,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “This report indicates we have been on the right path and that we need to continue down that path. Our teens are very fortunate to have so many people who are willing to work on their behalf to keep them safe as this report shows. We still have work to do and have a very strong foundation on which to continue building our safety programs for these drivers.”

Attorney General George Jepsen said, “We all have to be part of the solution to prevent needless tragedies and ensure teen drivers build up the skills, judgment, and experience necessary to make the right decisions when they get behind the wheel. This report details the important progress Connecticut has made toward reducing accidents involving teen drivers, but we must be diligent. Continued education and partnership between teens, parents, lawmakers and advocates is critical in order to ensure that teen drivers and their passengers demonstrate safe driving practices at all time.”

Here are some of the report highlights:

  • The 82-percent decrease since 2004 of 16- or 17-year-old driver deaths.
  • The 64-percent reduction in the deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers when comparing Connecticut before and after the adoption of restrictive teen driving laws.
  • How safety risks are developing for 18 and 19 year-olds who delayed getting a license and now possibly face increased chances of crashes, deaths and injuries.
  • How drivers on a 2-to-1 basis are more often killed or injured in crashes than passengers.
  • Reductions in police summonses, but no clear reasons for the downward trend.
  • Continued dangers of distracted driving for teens behind the wheel and in the vehicle.
  • A new Travelers survey showing parents are significant role models for younger drivers.

“We think this report has very good news about the overall benefit of having teen driving laws,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey. “It also mentions developments about more outreach on passenger safety and the need to reach older teen drivers with messages about protecting themselves and those in the car.”

Connecticut in 2004 introduced its first set of compulsory restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old drivers. These included a first-ever six-month passenger prohibition on friends and curfew after midnight. In 2008 the Legislature strengthened these provisions by increasing that passenger restriction to one year and lengthening the curfew to 11 p.m. It also ushered in new training requirements as well as new fines and other penalties for violating various teen driving laws. 

The report has comments from safety advocates around the state, discussion about how parents are role models for young teen drivers and ways that communities can engage to help teens of all ages become better drivers. It also includes a review of underage drinking and its contribution to setting up risky situations for young drivers.

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