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Dix Hills Couple Moved by Loss to Save Teens’ Lives

March 17th, 2016

Twenty-one years ago, Ellen and Dr. Faizur Chowdhury of Dix Hills faced every parent’s worst nightmare. Their 18-year-old son, Aram, was killed in a car crash just after returning home from the University of Vermont for Thanksgiving.  Aram, a passenger in a friend’s car, had not been wearing a seat belt. The driver, an inexperienced teen, was driving a new sports car purchased by his parents. By all accounts speed was a factor in the crash.

To say the loss was life-altering for the entire Chowdhury family would be a gross understatement. But what made the situation even more difficult to bear was the fact that soon after the crash, the driver’s parents purchased another brand new car for their son.

“Parents have to realize that they are responsible for educating their teens about driving safely, and not reward them with new cars when they behave irresponsibly behind the wheel,” said Ellen Chowdhury.

Determined to spare other families from the kind of grief they experienced, the Chowdhurys started a foundation in their son’s name. In conjunction with Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, the Aram R. Chowdhury Memorial Foundation will sponsor a workshop aimed at highlighting the dangers of distracted driving for teens and parents. “Keeping Teens Safe on the Road” will be held on Saturday, April 30, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the West Islip Fire Department. The program will include hands-on demonstrations, driving simulators that mimic the type of distractions teens are likely to face behind the wheel, and compelling presentations about the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the National Safety Council, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as “The 100 Most Deadliest Days” for teens on the road. This is the time when the combination of too much free time and too little driving experience can prove fatal.

Recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown that young inexperienced drivers who are distracted by cell phones, adjusting radios, or other activities while driving are more than 700 percent more likely than experienced drivers to be involved in a crash. For each mile driven, teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to be in an accident during their first year behind the wheel.

These statistics are borne out in Good Samaritan Hospital’s Emergency Department, according to Trauma Service Director Maureen Sheridan, RN.

“Our Trauma Service sees a high number of teenagers injured in motor vehicle accidents, as well as a many teen pedestrians who are struck by motor vehicles,” said Ms. Sheridan. “Drugs and alcohol sometimes play a role, but often accidents are the result of inexperience, speed or poor decision-making.”

For additional information or to register for the event, please call (631) 376-4444 or click here.