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Changes in Teen Driver's Ed Will Save Lives

Emphasizing a Parent's Need to be Actively Involved in Their Teen's Driver Training

Last August, I wrote an article entitled “Out of Sadness, Ridgefield’s Community Can Effect Crucial Change” in response to the death of one of Ridgefield’s teen drivers. As a result of that tragedy, I wondered what could be done to make some sort of difference to help reduce these horrible accidents.

I contacted my friends, State Representatives John Frey and Richard Smith, and enlisted their help. I was put in touch with DMV Commissioner Melody Currey and attended a meeting with her in Wethersfield.

Commissioner Currey formed the CT Teen Safe Driving Committee and I was fortunate to be asked to join. Thereafter, State Officials, Police Public Safety Personnel, Medical Administrators, Parents who lost children in teen driving accidents, Driving School Instructors, Students, a Superior Court Judge, a Prosecutor and concerned community leaders, met and drafted a plan to help develop what would be a national model to reduce teen driving accidents and help prevent these needless tragedies.

One of our committees developed a Teen Parent Driving Agreement, which can be found at www.ct.gov/teendriving. This agreement should be reviewed by the parent(s) and teen and signed by all concerned parties so that all of the parents’ expectations are understood and agreed to by the teen driver.

This past week we concluded filming our Teen Driving video at NBC CT in West Hartford. This video, once edited, will be shown throughout the State of Connecticut at the parent teen driving classes.

We are all excited about our progress and the educational materials we have developed. These materials, however, are only the start. It is imperative that parents become a part of this very important learning process.

Parents need to be actively involved in teaching, monitoring and supervising their teens in proper driving behavior. Parents must also be vigilant in enforcing violations of the rules of the road, which should include the internal revocation of their teen’s license for certain breaches of the rules or laws that are violated.

This is too important an undertaking to leave to chance. Some parents feel that once their teen gets his/her license that the education process is over. The fact is that it is just beginning. Parents, please, continue to be an important part of your teen’s learning experience. After all, your active involvement can literally help save a life.

Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state. He has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut" and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents." He has also co-authored the best selling book "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Know and Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!" He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.

COSMO P December 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM
After all, your active involvement can literally help save a life. Would that be the same parents that run through stop signs red lights tail gate pull in front of people while making left hand turns across traffic and talk on the phone while driving. Just checking thanks!
Pembroke December 10, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Good point Richard, that parents need to be involved. But I think Cosmo is also correct, it aint gonna happen here in RIdgefield. I've never seen such a group of know-it-all parents who do whatever they please, with such little regard for others. I don't think these parents are going to teach their kids how to be proper drivers because there's a history of these parents not teaching their kids about drugs or drinking or the importance of school or how to be a good sport on the field and so on. I think we get just the opposite effect here. I think parents teach their kids by example to do whatever they please.
Jayne Ubl December 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM
As a parent with two sons who both totalled cars within six weeks of each other, I am a parent willing to listen NOW...unfortunately many parents don't understand that a driver's ed instructor only has your kid for SIX hours...you as a parent have them for life...what if your kid left with keys in hand and said, Mom and Dad, I'm going out and I'm going to cost you $5 million dollars tonight because I'm going to get in an accident with my friends in the car." would a parent sit up and take notice. Check out Three COSTLY mistakes a teen can make that parents can prevent...you can find it at drivesaferidesafe.com because they are also on a mission to create Smarter Drivers and Safer Roads. Thanks, Jayne- drivesaferidesafe

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