DMV is open by appointment only. Return to our homepage to schedule an appointment or to view online services.

Facial coverings must be worn during all road skills tests and are highly recommended to be worn when entering a DMV office.

Op-ed: Tougher Teen Driving Rules Working

By Brendan Campbell, Sherry Chapman and Bill Seymour

The Hartford Courant

January 26, 2011

Connecticut's toughened teen driving laws and training requirements, which were adopted two years ago, are succeeding in reducing injuries and deaths from teenage car crashes.

Analysis of Connecticut crash data demonstrates that fatal accidents involving 16- or 17-year-old drivers are at historic lows in Connecticut. So, too, are the number of young people obtaining their first license at 16 or 17 years old. These are two very important signals showing that fewer kids are getting behind the wheel at a young age and that those who are seem to be paying more attention to what's happening around them.

From 1997 to 2008, the number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in Connecticut involved in fatal crashes averaged about 16 per year. For 2009, ending 16 months following the imposition of tougher laws, restrictions, penalties and fines for teen drivers, that number dropped by an impressive 62 percent.

Driver licensure went from 41 percent of 16-year-olds and 60 percent of 17-year-olds in 1998 to 31 percent of 16-year-olds and 48 percent of 17-year-olds in the second year of the tougher laws, which went into effect in August 2008.

But these numbers tell only part of the story about the beneficial effects of the new laws. A state-sponsored survey of parents adds more credibility.

Under the new laws, parents are required to attend a joint two-hour training session with their teen driver seeking a license. It covers a variety of topics related to automobile safety and teen driving laws, and some sessions even offer information on brain development of teens.

Decision-making functions of the teenage brain are not finely tuned until about 25 years of age. Leaving milk on the counter and clothes on the floor is one thing. Driving with a bunch of distracting friends in the car is another matter. Young drivers often don't know when trouble lurks, such as having distractions that can invite disaster. Too many families have learned this lesson the hard way.

The study results released in January 2010 showed that parents reported the course was overwhelmingly beneficial and led them to adopt new safety measures with their young drivers. In the survey, 85 percent of parents reported that the training gave them more information to use in their parenting responsibilities with a teen driver.

We applaud the many state officials and agencies and the General Assembly for their leadership on this issue. We most especially want to credit the many safety advocates, from hospitals and high schools to police and community activists, who continue to spread this message every day.

As a result of the Governor's Task Force on Teen Safe Driving in 2008, public awareness projects — with teens talking to teens about safe driving and the tougher laws — have sprung up in various parts of the state. There's the state Department of Motor Vehicles' Teen Safe Driving Video contest co-sponsored with The Travelers that has drawn more than 500 students' participation statewide. The bereaved parents group, Mourning Parents Act, has made high school presentations to hundreds of classes and community groups. Connecticut Children's Medical Center has a special driving simulator program that allows teenagers to understand dangers they face on the road by playing a videogame. These are just a few of the initiatives happening now.

Most important, we thank parents for their stepped-up enforcement of safety rules at home, and teens for taking the responsibility of driving more seriously. This vigilance needs to continue beyond those first years of driving. Connecticut's young drivers represent our future, and making them safer drivers benefits everyone.

Brendan Campbell is a pediatric surgeon at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Sherry Chapman is president of teen safe driving advocates Mourning Parents Act and Bill Seymour is director of communications at the Department of Motor Vehicles and director of its Center for Teen Safe Driving.