WETHERSFIELD — A new report on the third anniversary of the state toughening teen driving laws shows continued overall improvement in teens’ behind-the-wheel behaviors following enactment in August 2008 of these measures designed to make them better drivers.
The report points to a progressive downward trend in overall crashes involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers coupled with data showing a steady decline in the number of this age group obtaining licenses, despite their populations remaining relatively constant. In addition, convictions for most teen-driving related offenses continue to fall.
“This is an issue that affects the safety of all of us and our families, and it is very encouraging to see such positive results,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “We know there is no magic bullet to prevent all crashes, but the push to educate young drivers and enforce stricter driving laws is proving to be an effective tool that can help save lives.”
DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey added, “These numbers demonstrate improvement we like to see, but there’s always more work to do in this area of educating teens about safe driving.”
The annual report highlights the following:
- Overall crashes are down by 28 percent when comparing 2007 to 2009, the latest figures from the state Department of Transportation for crashes in which 16 or 17 year-old drivers’ were determined to be the contributing factor.
- Fatal crashes regardless of fault involving a 16- or 17-year-old driver numbered nine in 2010 remaining below an historic 13 per-year from 2005 through 2008 the year the new laws began.
- Convictions for cell phone use and distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence (per se), and failure to wear a seat belt or having more passenger than seat belts, all show a downward trend
Most noticeably the number of 16 and 17 year-olds holding licenses has continued to decrease, despite their statewide population remaining stable since 2008 when the laws were enacted. Safety advocates say both the tough laws and poor economy play major roles and make this beneficial for Connecticut’s progress.
(To view the entire report visit:ct.gov/dmv/2011annual_teen_driving_rpt The report is produced annually by the DMV Center for Teen Safe Driving).