A father whose 17-year-old son died while driving in 2006, and who went on to take a leadership role in a statewide task force that advised the state legislature on rewriting Connecticut’s teen driving laws, has launched a national blog for parents on safe teen driving.
Tim Hollister ’78, a West Hartford, Conn. resident and attorney, lost his son Reid in a one-car accident on Interstate 84 in Plainville, Conn. in December 2006. During 2007-08, as a member of Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell’s Safe Teen Driving Task Force, Hollister immersed himself in the issue of why driving is the leading cause of death for teens, and became an advocate for better-informed parental decision-making about teen driving.
“My son’s accident led me to study teen driving laws and statistics in Connecticut and nationally,” Hollister said, “but it was my discovery, as a task force member, that the literature and resources available to parents rarely explain the dangers of teen driving that prompted me to start this blog.”
The blog, “From Reid’s Dad,” is found at http://www.fromreidsdad.org.
“I was astounded to learn that even though 6,000 teen drivers and 2,000 of their passengers die every year, and 400,000 kids are seriously injured, the driving manuals and other literature usually say little more than ‘Be careful.’ Cigarette packs carry warnings about death, and patients going into surgery are warned multiple times that death is a potential consequence, but the driving literature doesn’t warn parents about how dangerous teen driving is, and why,” Hollister observed. “Meanwhile, every night on television we see ads with cars doing 360’s on busy city streets, crashing through glass, spinning into parking spaces, and weaving through dense traffic at high speeds, all without a scratch. Our culture glorifies risky driving. We need a counterbalance that will caution parents and teens.”
In addition, Hollister noted that “Many parents are seduced by the convenience of having another driver in the house, or their pride in their child passing a milestone toward adulthood. My blog is an effort to counsel parents not to put convenience and pride ahead of safe decisions. I have no intention of telling parents how to handle their own kids. My goal is to make important information about teen driving accessible and clear, so that parents will make better decisions.”
The blog, launched in the wake of the federal government’s national summit on distracted driving, includes the story of the death of Hollister’s son and how it led to his service on Connecticut’s task force and his advocacy for safer driving; a list of tips for parents of teen drivers; a summary of Hollister’s teen driving activities; two initial posts, “There Is No Such Thing As A Safe Teen Driver” and “Baseline Dangers and Higher Risks;” and links to informative national websites and databases.