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Connecticut school offers students distracted-driving program


Teenagers are often criticized for reckless behavior and poor decision-making abilities. A good example is the common practice of texting and driving, an endeavor that can have devastating consequences for both teen drivers and other motorists. The Highway Safety Office of the Connecticut Department of Transportation is all set to start changing that behavior.

In Bristol Eastern High School, the DOT recently kicked off its program to convince teenagers to avoid driving while distracted. Its presentation showed students the aftermath of accidents in which texting and cellphone use were significant factors as well as testimonials from and interviews with negligent drivers, victims and family members who lost loved ones in these accidents.

According to the DOT and the program's awareness speaker, distracted driving has become an epidemic everywhere in the country. In 2011, more than 3,300 people lost their lives in distracted-driving incidents in the United States. The program, which was sponsored by AT&T, brought along driving simulators for students to test their abilities. Two simulators replicated distracted-driving events and the third simulated the experience of driving while intoxicated. Almost every student driving simulation ended in a fatal accident.

The DOT's program is timely and an effort to address an obvious need. Educating drivers at an early age can help them better understand the pitfalls of negligent driving. Teenagers get to see that beyond inflicting injuries on other people, they could inadvertently take or destroy someone else's life.

Drivers can face both criminal and civil legal consequences if their negligence leads to a car accident or any other type of vehicle accident. If held criminally liable, they could be sent to prison and be forced to pay fines and compensate victims for accident-related damages. Being conscious of the possible consequences can help any New Haven resident drive more safely.

Source: New Britain Herald, "DOT's Distracted Driving Program Kicked Off Monday," Justin Muszynski, Dec. 9, 2013

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