Teen Driving Safety Pep Rally

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Over the last five months, nine Connecticut teenagers, between the ages of 15 and 18, were killed in automobile crashes. So, as National Teen Driver Safety Week kicked off kicked off today, there was a captive audience at an assembly at Middletown’s Mercy High School This morning.

The message from five students, who were chosen to be part of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Teen Advisory Committee: It’s not just a teen driver’s responsibility to keep the roads safe.

“Both the driver and his or her peer passengers need to work together to practice safe driving habits, said Ama Appiah, a Mercy High School Junior

The key most say to the reduction in teen accidents in Connecticut: teens educating teens.

“That’s because it’s coming from someone that’s like them, with the same experience. whereas, like, if a parent’s telling a teen, they have more experience and a teen might feel like they’re being lectured,” said Allie Caselli, a Nonnewaug High School Junior

Trauma surgeon Dr. David Shapiro did have a lecture of sorts.

“How many students in the room have seen their parents text or call behind the wheel? That’s a lot of people. Talk to them about it,” urged Shapiro, of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Teen Advisory Committee members have done this.

“I would be like mom, no, just give me the phone. I’ll respond to the email. I’ll text dad back or text whoever you need to text back. Just left me have the phone and you focus on driving,” said Hannah McCollam, a Nonnewaug High School Junior.

One of Dr. Shapiro’s sobering statistics: teens are responsible for three times as many crashes as any other segment of the driving population. But, Connecticut’s strict teen driving laws are making a difference. Over the past several years, teen crash rates have decreased between 20 and 40 percent.


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