The IPC public policy objective is to advance the field of injury and violence by promoting adoption of laws and regulations that mandate safe behavior.
In the early 1990’s, we described the frequency, severity, and cost of bicycle injury in the state and in 1993 our advocacy has resulted in the passage of safety law mandating helmet usage for children less than 12 years. In 1997, the law was upgraded mandating helmet use for children less than 16 year of age. (1)
Also in the early 1990’s, we described severe firearm injury and in 1993 our advocacy resulted in passage of an assault weapon law that prohibited the sale of selected firearms with large capacity ammunition magazines that are designed for short-quick firing without the need for skilled marksmanship. Many are specifically designed to kill human beings at close range. (2)
Similarly, in 1998 we described the frequency, severity, and cost of childhood injury (including motor vehicle injury) in the state and in 1994 our advocacy has resulted in the passage of child passenger safety, further refinements in 1996, and an upgrade in the booster seat law in 2005. (3)
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and in the 1990’s we began a concerted effort to study the problem and promote passage of graduated driver licensing (GDL) system in the state. GDL systems phase-in the driving privilege for new teen drivers over a 12 to 18 month period and control high risk driving situations such as night driving and driving with teen passengers.
Our first publication highlighted the discrepancy between teen and parent knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors around driving issues. (4)
In 1997, our advocacy resulted in passage of Connecticut Learner’s Permit Law and addition of passenger and night restrictions in 2004, and 2005. In 1996, three IPC staff were recognized for their work involving passage of learners permit law for teenage drivers and were named as Traffic Safety Leaders by the National Advocates for Highway Safety.
More recently IPC staff analyzed motor vehicle crash data, helped organize a broad based traffic safety coalition, and testified at public hearings to promote adoption of a full graduated driver licensing (GDL) system for Connecticut’s teen drivers.
In 2008 we examined support for a GDL upgrade which led to passage in 2009 of significant improvements including stronger passenger and night restrictions, increased requirement for parent supervised driving, 2 hour mandatory parent class, and increased sanctions including a 48 hour license suspension for GDL violations. (5)
In 2010, we studied the impact of Connecticut GDL system that demonstrated a 30-40% reduction in teen MVCs. The results were published in Journal of Trauma. (6)
(1) Zavoski R, Lapidus G, Lerer T, Banco L. Bicycle injury in Connecticut. Conn Med. 1995;59(1):3-9.
(2) Zavoski R, Lapidus G, et al. A population based study of severe firearm injury. Pediatrics. 1995;96(2):278-282.
(3) Lapidus G, Lerer T, Zavoski R, Banco L. Childhood injuries in Connecticut. Conn Med. 1998;62(6): 323-331.
(4) Sherman, K., Lapidus, G., Gelven, E., Banco, L. New teen drivers and their parents: What they know and What they expect. Am J Health Behav. 2004;28(5):387-396.
(5) Campbell, B, Chaudry N, Borrup, Hassan,S, Lapidus, G. Does Knowledge of Teen Driving Risks and Awareness of Current Law Translate into Support for Stronger GDL Provisions? Lessons Learned from One State. Traffic Injury Prevention. 2009;10(4):320-324.
(6) Rogers, S, Bentley, G, Campbell, T., Borrup, K, Saleheen, H, Wang, Z, Lapidus, G. Impact of Connecticut’s graduated driver licensing system on teenage motor vehicle crash rates. J Trauma. (in press)