WEST HARTFORD — A West Hartford dad Tim Hollister is a safe teen driving advocate. Hollister’s 17-year-old son Reid was killed in a one-car crash on I-84 in Plainville in December 2006.
“He died from probably being over the speed limit and inexperienced with how to handle a skid,” said Hollister.
Since Reid’s death, Hollister has written two books and runs a blog on teen driving safety. Hollister said he was hands-on while teaching Reid how to drive, and thought he did everything right.
“I read the manual, took him out in the high school parking lot on Sunday morning and we practiced,” said Hollister.
Hollister said he was missing crucial information that he now wants other parents to know. His biggest point: a teen’s brain is not fully developed until around ages 22-25.
“The last part that develops is the part that provides judgment and restraint, the ability to perceive risk and avoid danger,” said Hollister.
He said parents need to understand the limits of Driver’s Ed.
“We train our teens on compact cars on familiar local streets, but then the teen has to drive an SUV on the Mass Pike in rush hour,” said Hollister.
Hollister has devised a list of the five biggest teen driving dangers, called ‘PACTS,’ which stands for Passengers, Alcohol and Drugs, Curfews, Texting and Electronic Devices and Seatbelts.
Hollister also served on a panel which helped to toughen Connecticut’s teen driving laws, implementing things like earlier curfews and a mandatory driving class for parents.
“The parent or guardian has to go with the teen to the driving school for two hours and learn about teen driver safety,” explained Hollister.
In 2006, Hollister said there were 49 teen driver-related fatalities in Connecticut. In 2013, that number dropped to 10, which Hollister attributes to tougher state laws.
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