It’s ironic that the very day a celebrity popular with teens perished in a horrible car crash in California, the state of Connecticut would be celebrating its 10th Teen Driving Safety Awareness Week. Paul Walker — the star of six of the seven Fast and the Furious franchise films — was killed on Sunday.
According to an article posted on CNN.com this morning, a probe centers on the speed of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, driven by Walker’s racing team partner, Roger Rodas.
The Fast and the Furious movies cut a wide demographic path. The movies were certainly popular amongst young people, but when Fast & Furious 6 opened on Memorial Day last year, part of its massive $117 million opening weekend was due to its diverse cast, and its appeal to young people of all ethnic backgrounds.
This tragedy should be an opportunity for all parents to speak to their teens about driving — and riding — safely while out on the road.
The state of Connecticut has designated this week as Teen Safe Driving Awareness Week since 2002, at the behest of three Connecticut mothers whose teenage sons were killed in car crashes in 2002.
They formed a group called !MPACT, also known as Mourning Parents Act, to advance their cause.
Since that time, the Nutmeg State has enacted numerous laws to help protect teens driving and riding in cars, resulting in an 81 percent reduction in teen driving deaths in 10 years.
James Redeker, Connecticut’s DOT Commissioner, said, “We must be consistent, even aggressive, on the issue of instilling the right driving habits in our youngest drivers, and Teen Safe Driving Awareness Week helps us repeat and reinforce this crucial endeavor.”
If there’s any good to come out of this past week’s tragedy, it’s that it underscores the opportunity to talk to your teenage children about driving safely, understanding how their actions can impact others, and about being safe as a passenger in a car with their friends.
Let’s work together to raise awareness, and make sure this holiday season isn’t a solemn one for families around the nation.