Shelton Police, “The Next Street” Driving School give safe driving tips

Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira, The Shelton Police Department and Brandon Dufour from “The Next Street” Driving School are working to ensure residents have a safe and enjoyable summer by recommending several practices drivers should obey when behind the wheel.

“We urge residents, especially our teenage drivers, to please follow the rules of the road and avoid distractions,” Chief Sequeira said. “Whether operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or texting and driving, anything that impedes your focus could end with serious consequences.”

“The July 4th Holiday is a good opportunity to remind all drivers, especially the newly licensed, of the risks associated with our roadways. The Graduated Licensing Laws exist to keep teens safe as they get comfortable driving on their own. Summer is not an excuse to not follow the laws. We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend, but do not want anyone to risk becoming a statistic,” said General Manager of “The Next Street” Driving School Brandon Dufour.

Here are some tips to being a safer driver:

• Don’t text and drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports a 25%of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Additionally, NHTSA reports that the average text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. While traveling at 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field.

• If you can, while behind the wheel, keep your phone off or out of reach. This will help to ensure  the drivers’ focus remains solely on the road. NHTSA reports that engaging in tasks like reaching for your phone, dialing and texting increases the risk of getting into a crash.

• Never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking and don’t get in a vehicle with an impaired driver. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-

impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

• Obey the speed limit. Speeding is a major contributor to motor vehicle accidents and fatal car crashes.

Don’t feel pressured to speed to keep up with traffic or friends on the road. Also, speeding tickets are often pricey and will result in an increase on your insurance premium.

• Be a defensive driver. Remain cognizant of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you at all times. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you, especially in areas where the speed limit is slower.

•Remember to share the road with bikers on side streets, even if arrows are not marked. Turn your headlights on to increase visibility.

Mayor Mark Lauretti and Shelton Police will be taking part in a safe driving course Thursday, June 30 at the Shelton Police station at 10:30 a.m. The course will feature summer driving tips and stage mock arrests of impaired drivers.

The police station is located at 85 Wheeler Street in Shelton.