New Video Seeks to Improve Teen Driving Safety, Recalls Tragic Death of West Hartford Teen

Kohl's Tween Safe Program is currently focusing on the dangers inherent in teen driving.  The  program's website features a new video with the father and sister of  Reid Hollister, a 17-year-old West Hartford resident who was killed in a one-car accident in 2006.  The video, prepared in association with the Connecticut Children's Medical Center,  aims to alert teens and parents to the realities and risks of teen driving.

Reid’s father, Tim Hollister, became a leading advocate for better-informed parental decision-making about teen driving in the months after Reid’s tragic death.  He was a leading member of the Governor’s Safe Teen Driving Task Force in 2007-8, which led to legisReid websitelative passage of a series of stringent laws in Connecticut, including graduated teen  licenses, to lessen the risks of car crashes involving teens.

The short video, with Reid’s dad and sister on camera recounting discussing Reid’s life, and the circumstances surrounding his death, are the featured subject on Kohl’s Tween Safe website, and excerpts of their comments, along with noteworthy statistics, are also be telecast on local television stations as a public service announcement.

Tim Hollister’s blog, "From Reid's Dad," was launched in September 2009 and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Public Service Award, April 2010, for "extraordinary efforts to assist parents in making informed decisions about safe teen driving." The site includes a model teen driving agreement for teens and parents, available for download. and helpful information and suggestions regarding teen driving and parental decision-making.

The Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, in partnership with Kohl’s Cares®, has launched Kohl’s Tween Safe, a website and public information initiative to provide information aimed at preventing all types of injuries. The goal is to share the latest news and research to enable tweens, parents and coaches to make informed decisions.

On December 2, 2006, 17-year-old Reid Hollister, died after a one car accident.  He was driving on a three-lane Interstate highway (I-84 in Plainville) that he likely had not driven before, on a dark night just after rain had stopped, and apparently traveling above the speed limit, “he went too far into a curve before turning, then overcorrected, and went into a spin.” As the blog describes it, “While the physics of the moment could have resulted in any number of trajectories, his car hit the point of a guardrail precisely at the middle of the driver's-side door, which crushed the left-side of his chest.”

Among the statistics highlighted on the site:

  • Safer teen driving starts with informed, conservative decisions about whether teens get behind the wheel of a car in the first place. Teaching teens to operate a vehicle safely is Step 2.
  • Driving is the leading cause of death for people under age 20 in the United States.
  • Safer teen driving is everyone's concern. In 2010, nearly 2,000 teen drivers died, but their crashes killed more than 3,000 passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

The video featured on the Kohl’s website was recorded recently when Connecticut Children’s Medical Center approached the Hollister family about making a video about Reid’s story, for teen drivers and their parents.

Earlier this year, the blog reported the following:  “The Governors’ Highway Safety Administration has issued a new report, New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2012 (Feb. 26, 2013), based on preliminary fatality statistics for 2012, and the key finding should send a big shiver up our collective national spine:  after years of decline, deaths of 16 and 17 year old drivers increased in the first six months of last year. From 2011 to 2012, the national number of 16 year old driver deaths increased from 86 to 107 and the number of 17 year old deaths from 116 to 133.”

First-in-Nation Audio Service for Hospitalized Children Launched in Connecticut

In what may be the first program of its kind in the nation, CRIS Radio and Connecticut Children's Medical Center are working together to offer children who are patients at the hospital a new way to pass their time while receiving medical treatment. Connecticut Children's patients may now listen to CRISKids, a service that provides audio versions of articles published in nearly 20 award-winning children's magazines, through the hospital's in-house television system.  The audio alternative to printed magazines - through an in-house system streamed to each patient TV – can be tremendously comforting for young patients unable to read or turn pages of a magazine due to their condition or medical treatment.

CRIS (Connecticut Radio Information System) is a 34-year-old nonprofit based in Windsor and is Connecticut's only radio-reading service providing audio access to news and information for people who are blind or print-handicapped, including those unable to read due to physical, learning, intellectual or emotional disabilities.

CRISKids, the only extensive line-up of audio versions of children's magazines in the nation and Canada, was launched in December 2011.  More than a dozen titles are available, mostly for children aged 4 to 15, including National Geographic for Kids, Science World, Ranger Rick,  Junior Scholastic, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Scholastic News. CRIS radio

CRIS Board Chairman William H. Austin said that the Board “is excited to form a partnership with Connecticut Children's and thankful for the funding support received to bring this project to life.  Comcast provided technical assistance and a donation of special equipment necessary for the project. Other funders of the project include the Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, and the Ahearn Family Foundation.

"The availability of CRISKidsTM in patient rooms will allow children to enjoy educational entertainment, which is an extremely valuable offering and can be a helpful component of the healing process," said Martin J. Gavin, President and CEO of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The CRISKids initiative has received financial support from several foundations, including: Help for the Blind of Eastern Connecticut, Fund for Greater Hartford, The Gibney Family Foundation, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

CRIS Radio records more than 70 newspapers and magazines to provide audio access to printed material for people who are blind and print-handicapped. The audio recordings can be heard with a special CRIS radio, toll-free through the CRIS Telephone Reader, online streaming live or on-demand at the CRIS Radio website,, or with any mobile device, including tablets or smartphones.  CRIS operates with nearly 350 volunteers at its broadcast center in Windsor and four satellite studios located in Danbury, Norwich, Trumbull and West Haven.  The CRISKids program is also available for individual subscription.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center is a nationally recognized, 187-bed not-for-profit children's hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Named among the best in the nation for several of its pediatric specialties in the annual U.S. News & World Report "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.