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New Canaan Driving School: Phones, Cars Don't Mix

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Distracted driving has been a concern of Marie Winters Trant’s long before a New Canaan teenage driver was charged in connection with a Norwalk man’s death last month.

“It makes you feel vulnerable, that it can happen to you,” said Trant, owner of the Lewis School of Driving in New Canaan. “Everybody thinks they can do it.”  

It’s why she and the staff at the Lewis School of Driving continue to tell young student drivers to leave their phones alone when they take to the road.

More discussions on distracted driving are taking place after a 16-year-old New Canaan girl was arrested last Saturday in connection with the death of Kenneth Dorsey of Norwalk. The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, is charged with negligent homicide, use of a handheld phone under 18 years old and failure to drive in the proper lane. Police said Dorsey was struck by a Toyota 4Runner at about 9:30 a.m. March 24.

Trant said texting while driving has become a bigger worry for her than talking. “I think that’s where the problem is now,” she said. “Not that talking isn’t a problem, it certainly is. But texting has become more uniform and popular now.”

The staff of Lewis School has continued to caution young drivers and their parents about distracted driving. Trant points parents to smartphone applications, such as Izup, that prevent a phone from being used when a vehicle is in motion. “That’s a wonderful tool for parents,” she said, adding that talking and texting is not exclusively a teenage driver problem.  

New Canaan Police Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said the department continues to stop motorists for using their cellphones while driving. Some of those stopped can also be charged with distracted driving.  

New Canaan Police plan to host a distracted driving forum discussion June 6 at New Canaan High School.

“We really want to do all we can to educate the public and stress how serious a problem this is,” Ogrinc said. “It still seems to be a problem nationwide.”

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