Seymor, Connecticut Driver Hits School Bus, Ignores Teen Driving Laws

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.

Seymour, Connecticut Teen Loses License after Bus Collision

The Seymour, Connecticut Teen driver who crashed into a school bus has lost her driving privileges. Because she was in violation of the Connecticut teen driver laws restricting the number of passengers in her car while in the early stages of her driving career, the teen driver who crashed into a busload of children has had her license suspended.

As the parent of a near teenager, I make sure to monitor my son’s whereabouts at all times. As he approaches the age when he may be in someone else’s car, potentially a newly licensed teen driver, I anticipate many discussions about what is permitted, and what must be avoided at all costs. As he, and later, his younger siblings, reach driving age, I hope that these early warnings will stay with him, and them, in their driving habits.

Parents: Be sure to have proper and adequate automobile insurance in place on your vehicles. A review of your policy with your agent or insurance representative is essential when you have a new driver of your cars. If you are unclear about what these coverages mean, or have a claim that you need to discuss, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney for answers to liability questions, and what you should expect from your insurance agent or representative. Specifically, ensure that your liability coverage is high enough to protect your own assets if your car is involved in an accident that is deemed your child’s fault (or anyone else driving your car). Imagine facing a claim or being sued for such an accident and learning, too late, that your coverage is not enough because your child struck a school bus full of children, and each was injured, and looking to you and your policy for coverage. If that coverage is insufficient, they can also look to your personal assets for compensation. It may be a bit more expensive, but having piece of mind where automobile liability is involved is worth the price. This is especially so because of the high number of accidents involving teen drivers.

Connecticut Children at risk of Trampoline Injury

Spring is here and from Greenwich, to Bridgeport to New Haven, Connecticut, we are outside and loving it. However, with outdoor activity comes risks of serious personal injuries to children that are both obvious and not so obvious. “Go outside and play,” we tell them over and over. No more computer, texting, instant messaging, “wii”ing. The kids are bouncing off the walls, but they should not be bouncing on a trampoline, ever, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

My own kids have been begging for two things for several years. First is a dog. We are 4-1 on this one, with the one “no” vote being my wife, who insists she will be the one soley in charge of all dog care (she is quite right, and therefore, she wins this one). Second is a trampoline. We are 3-2 on this one, where both my wife and I agree that we will not have one (we even rejected a neighbor’s offer of a free one last year-his kids no longer used it). We have both seen firsthand the serious injuries that children can suffer while on a trampoline.

Injuries to children from jumping on a trampoline are not only common, they are quite often serious enough to change a child’s life forever, without warning, and without the child doing something wrong, without there being a defect in the manufacture of the trampoline and can even happen when there is proper parental supervision.

Connecticut Pool Safety Requirements Meant to Reduce Drownings and Injuries

Connecticut’s outdoor swimming pool season is short, so pool owners take great care to prepare their pools for maximum use during our warm weather season from May through September. However, with that preparation comes a word of caution about the dangers of owning a swimming pool, and the risks of serious injuries, especially to children, when proper safety guidelines are not followed.

Unfortunately, when a child is injured in a Connecticut pool, it is often a very serious injury, or even, as was the case with a six year old from Greenwich, Connecticut, a fatality. It is especially sad, and frustrating, when such injuries can, or should have been prevented. In the Greenwich, Connecticut pool tragedy, the owner of the pool company responsible for the installation was arrested for failing to comply with swimming pool design and construction regulations, in omitting a protective valve cover. Because that valve cover was not in place, the six year old boy became trapped, under water, due to the valve’s strong suction. Had the cover been in place, as required by code, he could not have become trapped by that valve, it is claimed by his family’s attorneys. Just this year, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. This act requires valves and drains to be properly covered, which will prevent many entrapments, and eviscerations.

Connecticut’s swimming pool laws are designed to protect swimmers from serious injury and even death, which can be caused by drowning, entrapment in a drain or valve, or due to misplaced diving boards in an area that is too shallow. There are a number of Connecticut swimming pool rules relating to safety, but a few are exceptionally noteworthy, and well worth mentioning, since many pool owners may not even be aware of them.

Whenever my kids visit a friend whose house has a pool, we ask safety questions in the same manner as if they child were going to a house where guns might be present: what safety measures are in place to protect my kids from harm? Will you be present at all times if the kids are in the pool? If not, then who will be watching them? Do you have fencing around the pool, and an alarm in place, as required? Most times, unless the house is one whose owners are close friends, and we are comfortable with how they handle their pool safety, we will simply ask that our child not be allowed in or even near the pool at all absent our presence. We have had no complaints from those parents, thankfully, as they have been both accommodating of our concerns, and genuinely pleased that we take such an interest in safety.