Beginning October 1st, 2009, first-time drivers in Connecticut will face new requirements to receive their driver's licenses, including a second driving test. These new requirements mark a departure from laws passed in 2008, which eliminated a test taken prior to licensure in favor of more time behind the wheel.
Lawmakers eliminated the second written test in an attempt to emphasize actual driving skills instead of the hypothetical situations posed by tests. Driving instructors discovered, however, that many students simply did not take their classes as seriously without the impending exam. Instructors worried that teens would not adequately understand the rules of the road and, having no test to study for, would be less inclined to try.
So, legislators brought the test back.
Prospective teen drivers in Connecticut now face two exams. Students must first pass a 25-question test prior to receiving a learner's permit. The second, reinstated exam is now required before a teen driver's final driving test with an agent from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Focus on Safety
Driver safety has been a main focus of Connecticut lawmakers in recent years. Since 2002, Connecticut has significantly upped restrictions on teenage drivers in an effort to curb driving fatalities.
Before they apply for their driver's licenses, teenagers in Connecticut must have had their learner's permits for at least six months and must have completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice. 16- and 17-year-old drivers may only transport their parents or a supervising adult over 20-years-old for the first three months after receiving their licenses and are not allowed on the road between midnight and 5:00am.
More Restrictions Possible
Even with the number of restrictions on teen drivers, some feel that more could be done to prevent fatal crashes. In April of this year, representatives from New York, Delaware and Maryland sponsored a bill that would create three tiers of licensing for teen drivers, beginning with a learner's permit, moving on to a restricted intermediate license, and ending with full licensure.
Under the proposed rules, teens would not be able to receive full licensure until the age of 18. Drivers within the first two tiers would be subject to more restrictions -- not unlike those already endured by 16-year-olds driving with permits. Posted by Williams, Walsh and O'Connor, LLC at 5:53 AM
Article provided by Williams, Walsh, and O'Connor, LLC
Good trial lawyers tell compelling stories to juries in the courtroom. But if a court determines the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Division to be the proper legal venue for Charla Nash's story, no jury will hear it. On February 16, 2009, the 55-year-old woman was attacked by a chimpanzee named Travis. The chimp ripped off her face and hands. Now, Nash is blind, eats through a straw, and suffers partial brain damage.
Travis was a 200-pound chimp owned by Nash's employer, Sandra Herold. He turned on Nash when she tried to coax him back inside Herold's home office after he escaped. On the 911 call, there are screams. Travis grunts from exertion in the background. After Travis mauled Nash, the police arrived, and he opened the door to a cruiser. The police shot and killed him as he began to climb inside.
Nash filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Herold alleging, among other things, that Herold was negligent and responsible for her injuries. Herold, in turn, filed a workers' compensation claim on Nash's behalf, listing Nash as a full time employee of Desire Me Motors, Herold's towing company. The question is whether coaxing an escaped chimpanzee was part of Nash's job description. If so, the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Division -- not a jury in Stamford Superior Court -- would hear Nash's story.
ort law seeks to remedy injustices caused by negligence. It provides a means by which the injured may pursue remuneration from responsible parties. If Nash's lawsuit were to remain before the court, a jury would determine whether Herold was negligent for keeping Travis on the premises. The jury would also have an opportunity to award Nash damages for her pain and suffering.
Workers' compensation generally provides for the resolution of claims without regard to negligence. It caps an employer's liability while providing "automatic" compensation for employees injured on the job. Under Connecticut workers' compensation law, Nash's recovery may be limited to a portion of her salary for a set number of weeks and certain limited damages, as defined by statute. Connecticut workers' compensation law does not allow recovery for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
The facts will be determinative. Nash lost her face, both hands, is blind, eats through a straw, and suffered partial brain damage. Can workers' compensation adequately address this? Perhaps -- if chimp duty was Nash's responsibility as a towing company employee.