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Good Samaritan Hosts Safe Driving Event For Teens, Families

May 26th, 2016

Some 34 teens and their parents had an opportunity to test their driving skills during the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center and Aram R. Chowdhury Memorial Foundation- sponsored “Keeping Teens Safe on The Roads” event.

The free seminar, which is the second held by Good Samaritan and the Chowdhury Memorial Foundation, was held on April 30 at the West Islip Fire Department. It provided students from ages 15-18 and their parents with a five hour program that focused on the importance of safe and distraction-free driving.

Utilizing two cars donated by Atlantic Hyundai, teens experienced high-tech, state-of-the-art automobile simulators to experience the effects of distracted driving. Information was provided by Paul D. Failla, a retired 27-year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department, and Chris Memoli, who – as a teen – suffered an accident-related traumatic brain injury. In addition, breakout tables featured information focusing on safe driving.

The event was underwritten by the Chowdhury Memorial Foundation, established by Dr. Faizur and Ellen Chowdhury in honor of their son Aram who died in 1994 at the age of 18 in a car accident. A $1,000 Aram R. Chowdhury Memorial scholarship was won by Julian Kleisler of Babylon and several $50 Amazon gift cards were raffled off to those in attendance.

A year after Aram’s death, Mrs. Chowdhury created a program for students and their parents that provided information related to the risks of teenage driving and the responsibility of their  parents. Students attended assemblies in the day and there was a compulsory event for parents in the evening. The program continued for 16 years, until the district no longer provided a driver’s education program.

“It was a comprehensive program for students and their parents,” said Mrs. Chowdhury.  She said she was joined by the driver’s education teacher for the district, Brian Gil from State Farm Insurance in Huntington, Paul Failla, Chris Memoli, and others who could provide information that would be useful to students and their parents. The Head Injury Association of Long Island also provided speakers who survived head injury and were willing to come and speak to the students about the challenges of living with the life altering injuries sustained in car crashes.

In the past, the Foundation has also enlisted physicians and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital to attend workshops on treatment of trauma to promote medical education. 

“When my son was in high school he took driver’s education but there was nothing for parents. A program like this is so important … it should be in all the school districts. It’s been my mission for almost 22 years to educate as many people as I can. Hopefully, going forward it will help others have a better outcome.”