As soon as a teen turns 16, they rush to their local DMV to take their permit test. Hopefully they pass and walk out with their driver's permit. Depending on whether or not the teen is impatient or not, they will sign up for driving classes and get their license in 4 months, and if not they’ll have to wait an extra 2.
In Norwalk the two biggest driving schools are Lewis and Next Street. Driving school can be expensive, Lewis is $800 and Next Street is $650. The packages both include 8 hours of driving on the road with an instructor and 30 hours of classroom lessons.
So what is driving school really like? Current Lewis driving school student, Sophia Valiante (18’), said, “No one really likes going, but you have to. The best thing they do is show you terrifying videos for an hour about the consequences of your actions. Some of the New Canaan boys can get pretty rowdy, and some the driving instructors definitely aren’t calm. I’ve had some yell at me and take the wheel from my hands, I had to request to never have them again.”
Though Lewis and Next Street teach their students how to avoid these terrifying accidents shown in their videos, a few McMahon students have had some close calls. Rebecca Dickson (18’) got into an accident on Imperial Drive a few months ago, across from St. Matthew’s church.
“It was raining and I was driving with a friend, this guy came into my lane and he had no intentions of stopping. I had to steer right and I ended up on someone’s front lawn so it wouldn’t be a head on collision, but he still hit the back left side of my car. In the end, the police report said it was 100% his fault and he paid for all of the damages.”
Not all accidents are as terrifying, Charlie Johnson (18’) said, “My parents had just gotten a new car, and I was pulling out of the driveway and somehow I ripped off the side mirror. My parents definitely weren’t happy.”
You’re not totally free to drive wherever, whenever, and with who ever once you get your license. Driving restrictions vary depending on the state you live in, some of Connecticut's include
“I have a little brother and both of my parents work, so I think it is crazy that I have to wait 6 months to drive my brother around. They need to change that rule to 2 months for family and 6 months for friends. No one follows the rules anyways, and I don’t think many people care which is why none of us get caught.”
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 reported that adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for $10 million of motor vehicle injuries. In 2014 2,270 teens died from car related accidents, meaning 6 died a day.
Now what precautions can teens take to ensure they have maximum safety behind the wheel? The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute has laid out the basics.