In August, I had written an article in response to the tragic death of one of our teenagers as a result of a teen driving accident. In that story, I suggested that our legislators change the current law requiring that the parent/ teen driver education program, which is required before a teen gets their license, be changed to before they get their permit.
I also suggested that a video be developed that would be mandatory viewing for all parents and teens who are required to attend this class. The video would stress the great dangers that teens are confronted with in operating a motor vehicle and provide teens with defensive driving techniques and parents with driver education tips to utilize while instructing their children in driver training.
Since the publication of that article, I have communicated with State Senators and Representatives from both parties and the Department of Motor Vehicles about these proposed changes. I have been met with great enthusiasm and support.
I am happy to report that I met with Melody Currey, the CT Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, members of her staff, the Injury Prevention Coordinator of the Trauma and Surgical Care Department at Yale-New Haven Hospital, an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at UCONN School of Medicine and Senior Program Manager of the Injury Prevention Center of the CT Children's Medical Center, a member of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a parent who lost a teenage son in a teen driving motor vehicle accident who was a member of the Governor's Task Force on Teen Safe Driving.
Commissioner Currey was very interested in these thoughts and ideas and wanted to develop a more comprehensive plan to see how this could be implemented, which spawned the Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Teen Driving.
This week approximately twenty-five people met at DMV Headquarters in Wethersfield who comprise the Commissioner's Committee on Teen Driving. These people included Federal and State Government Officials, parents, students, a law enforcement officer, a Supervisory Chief State's Attorney, Public Health individuals, an organization of parents of deceased teen drivers, driving school instructors, members of Commissioner Currey's staff and myself.
Committees were formed to research, investigate and make proposals for a new teen driving video, a parent/teen driver agreement, a parent outreach program along with a proposal for a curriculum for a uniform parent/teen safety class.
There is a lot of work to be done but there are a great number of committed individuals prepared to see this through. I am very optimistic that we will be able to make a difference in further protecting our children. Out of sadness we will effect crucial change.
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