Police Chief on ‘Ensuring Our Teen Drivers Are Well-Trained, Safe and Informed’


The week of December 7th is Safe Teen Driving Awareness week. Consequently, we must all work together on ensuring our teen drivers are well-trained, safe and informed. Our teen drivers face a number of safety challenges including:

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski

Teenage drivers are involved in more crashes per mile than drivers of any other age group.

Drivers aged 16 to 17 are involved in about seven times as many crashes per mile driven compared to drivers in their forties, fifties or sixties.

Teenage drivers are overrepresented in crashes that result in the death of other people, such as their passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.

The crash rate for 16 to 17 year old drivers is 50% higher than drivers in the 35-49 age group.

Motor Vehicle Crashes Are the Leading Cause of Death of Our Teens

Nationwide motor vehicle crashes rank as the leading cause of death for teens. Research shows that the prevalence of risky behaviors generally grew for 16- and 17-year-old drivers as the number of teen passengers increased.

  • Among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes:
  • The presence of passengers greatly increases the chances of a fatal crash.
  • The prevalence of speeding increased from 30 percent to 44 percent and 48 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
  • The prevalence of late-night driving (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) increased from 17 percent to 22 percent and 28 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
  • The prevalence of alcohol use increased from 13 percent to 17 percent and 18 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed data on fatal crashes that occurred in the United States from 2005 through 2010. Researchers found that 9,578 drivers age 16 and 17 were involved in fatal crashes, and that 3,994 of these included at least one teen passenger.

Parental Involvement Enhances Safety

Parents who ensure that their teens get ample practice in a wide variety of driving situations and transfer their safe driving wisdom to their novice drivers are more likely to help their teens develop the necessary skills to be safer drivers. Parents should spend more time with their teen drivers so they can build as much experience as possible before driving solo.

One study surveyed parents and teens found that:

  • Nearly half of parents reported they wanted their teens to get “a lot of practice,” when asked about their plans for their teens’ driving. Yet, only about one in four parents mentioned practicing under a variety of situations or conditions, such as in bad weather, heavy traffic, or on unfamiliar roads.
  • Nearly half of parents (47 percent) reported that there was still at least one condition in which they were not comfortable allowing their teen to drive unsupervised even after they passed their driving test and got their license to drive independently.
  • Few parents in the study were observed sharing more complex driving tips—such as visual scanning or anticipating other drivers’ behaviors – with their teen drivers.

It is critical that we all work together towards enhancing teen driver safety by adhering to graduated license restrictions, ensuring teen drivers receive ongoing driver training, and encouraging all parents to take an active role in their teen’s safety.

If you have a traffic complaint or request for enforcement please send an e-mail to: trafficsafety@newcanaanct.gov

Be better informed, connected, and send anonymous tips to our Department by downloading the “MYPD” application in the iPhone or Android marketplace. After downloading the application search for “New Canaan” and get connected.

Follow us on Twitter@newcanaanpolice for crime alerts and safety tips.

For more information go to:

  • TeenDriving.AAA.com and www.ct.gov/teendriving/site/default.asp

For information on teen drivers and prom season go to: www.ct.gov/dmv


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