Safety Matters: Teen Driver Safety


Teen Driver Safety

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24 this year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has good reason to highlight teen driver safety, as motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, ages 15-18 years old, in the United States. Teen drivers are two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with another teen in the vehicle, compared to when driving alone, according to the results of a study analyzed by NHTSA. According to that same study, the risk increases with the addition of teen passengers.

In Connecticut, in an effort to reduce teen fatalities on the roadways, graduated license laws were put into effect in 2008. The stricter rules for teen drivers have resulted in teen car crash fatalities dropping from an average of 18 per year in 2001-2007 to seven per year in 2009-2016, according to a 2018 press release from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Unfortunately, teen drivers and passengers are still dying on our roads. Much like any other law, the graduated license laws are only effective when followed.

So how can we help keep teens in our community safe? One of the best ways, especially if one has a teen driver or soon-to-be driver in their life, is to be a good role model. By following the rules of the road, wearing a seatbelt, focusing on driving and not being distracted we model safe driving behavior. Talking to teens about safe driving and the responsibility of being behind the wheel is also paramount to their understanding of the potentially fatal consequence of a bad decision. Inexperience, speeding, lack of seatbelt use, impaired driving and distracted driving are all culprits of increased risk to teens in vehicles. Most of these have a solution though; encourage teens in your life to make the right choices as a driver and as a passenger.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


“Teen Driver Fatal Crashes on Sharp Decline,” DMV News, August 1, 2018, Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles:

Teen Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Teen Drivers: Get the Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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