October 21, 2014
Safety Advocates, Attorney General, DMV, DOT Urge Parents
to Discuss Safety Habits with Teens Behind the Wheel
National Teen Safe Driver Week Runs to Saturday
Parents continue to be the chief influence on young drivers' attitudes toward safety behind the wheel, said leading Connecticut safety advocates as the state marks National Teen Safe Driver Week, which runs through Saturday (Oct. 19-25). They are uging parents to talk to their teens this week about key ways to keep safe.

Teen driver fatalities have declined both in Connecticut and nationwide and parents' continued involvement in reminding teens about safety is considered critical to maintaining the reduction. Fatalities for Connecticut’s 16 and 17-year-old drivers dropped by 71 percent in 2013 when comparing to 2007 the year before tougher laws were enacted.

The strong role of parents has become the focus of campaigns, such as "5 to Drive," by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Connecticut officials are also joining in that effort as a way to help reduce teen driver deaths.

“Through initiatives like ‘5 to Drive’, we are raising awareness to let parents know the significant impact they can have on reducing the crash risk of teen drivers and making Connecticut’s roads safer for everyone,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “When  parents take the time to discuss safe driving habits with their teenagers, their teen drivers follow suit by becoming more familiar with the situations they might face while on the road and learning how to deal with each situation confidently and responsibly.”

Attorney General George Jepsen said, "Safe driving is something that you learn, and the best teacher that a young driver has is their parent. While we can set rules and pass laws and work to ensure the roadways are safe for inexperienced drivers, we can't eliminate all dangers or distractions. It's up to parents and to teens to make safety a priority, and National Teen Safe Driver Week is a great time for us all to recommit to becoming model, safe drivers and to instilling safe driving habits in our children."

Parents are being called upon to emphasize the “5 to Drive” campaign launched a year ago. It addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about driving. NHTSA’s website www.safercar.gov/parents has detailed information and statistics about the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:
                  1.       No Drinking and Driving.
                  2.       Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.
                  3.       Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
                  4.       Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. 
                  5.       No More Than One Passenger at a Time.

"The "5 to Drive" are common sense rules all parents should be stressing with their young drivers. As we mark National Teen Safe Driver week, it is a good time for all parents to cover these again with their teen drivers," said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey.

She also pointed to DMV's statewide campaign for passenger safety, You're Not Just Along for The Ride - Safety Is Everyone's Responsibility, which involves parents, teen drivers and their passengers. DMV in its newest app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices features a parent quiz along with three practice tests for new drivers, locations of DMV and AAA offices and  real-time wait time listing for DMV offices.

“We encourage parents to talk to their teen drivers about the dangers of driving including drinking and driving, wearing a seat belt, driving distracted and speeding – and ensure they are traveling in accordance with Connecticut’s Graduated Driver Licensing laws,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “It is our hope that all of these efforts and the others of the safety partners here today have a dramatic impact on reducing the number of teen injuries and fatalities on our roadways.”

Evaluations of teen driving programs, known as graduated driver licensing (GDL) have demonstrated a 20-percent to 40-percent reduction in crash risk among the youngest drivers, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. GDL programs provide longer practice periods, limit driving under high-risk conditions for newly licensed drivers, and require greater participation of parents in their teen's learning-to-drive process.

Safety advocates who attended a press briefing today on this issue of strong parental guidance included Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Police Chief's Association, Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, AAA, Travelers, State Farm, Allstate and Mourning Parents Act. 
Media Contacts:
Department of Motor Vehicles:
Bill Seymour
860-263-5020 (office)
Office of the Attorney General:
Jaclyn M. Falkowski
860-808-5324 (office)
860-655-3903 (cell)
Consumer Inquiries:
Twitter: @AGJepsen