The fact that West Haven, Connecticut-based Winkle Bus Company’s “mini-bus” was equipped with seat-belts was likely a key factor in reducing both the number and seriousness of injuries to its pre-school passengers. The Seymour, Connecticut head-on collision on Botsford Road, between the bus and a car driven by a teenager, may have occurred while the teen was driving with passengers, in violation of Connecticut’s teen driver laws. Whether the accident was caused by this violation is certainly cause for concern, but has yet to be determined.
The driver, age 16, was not supposed to be carrying any passengers at all, because she was so new to the road, and was thus in violation of Connecticut’s newly enacted teen driver laws (see C.G.S. section 14-36, multiple sub-sections) which, among other changes after 8-1-08, prohibits new drivers from having passengers for the first 6 months of having a license, other than a driving instructor, licensed parent or guardian). This teen driver had three passengers in her car.
You may recall from an earlier post I wrote, under Injury Prevention that a key recommendation of the World Health Organization in reducing child accidental death was to restrict teen drivers from having passengers until they gain sufficient experience behind the wheel. Connecticut passed this teen driver law just this past August, 2008, in response to numerous serious teen car accidents, and even fatalities, and in an effort to reduce the chances that more would occur.