As part of its celebration of Teen Driver Safety Week, PennDOTSecretary Barry Schoch announced on Friday, Oct. 18, that Governor Tom Corbett has
proclaimedOct. 20-26 as Teen Driver Safety Week in Pennsylvania to coincide with thenational observance.
PennDOT is using this opportunity to remind parents and guardians thatadultsupervision is a critical component of keeping teen drivers safe on theroads,recognizing that parents and guardians are an integral part of teen drivingsuccess even after they have been licensed.
“Safely operating a vehicle requires complex evaluations, split-seconddecisions and intricate maneuvers and to help keep kids safe, parents and
guardians must thoroughly evaluate a teen driver’s knowledge, skills andabilities behind the wheel,” Schoch said. “Adults set a positive, safeexamplefor young drivers in their family and continuing to monitor young driversafterthey receive their license helps keep young drivers safe.”
From 2008 to 2012, there were 103,002 crashes involving at least one 16 to19-year old driver in Pennsylvania, resulting in 851 fatalities. Of thosecrashes, 46 percent involved the teen driver driving too fast forconditions,driver inexperience, driver distraction, or improper or careless turning.
The risk of a crash involving any of these factors can be reduced throughpractice, limiting the number of passengers riding with a teen driver,obeyingall rules of the road and using common sense.
In efforts to strengthen graduated driver licensing requirements andenhancetraining for young drivers, Governor Corbett signed Act 81 into law in2011.
The law increased supervised, behind-the-wheel skill building for permitholders under 18 years old from 50 to 65 hours and added stricter limits onthenumber of passengers that young drivers can transport for the first sixmonthsafter they receive their junior license. The law also made it a primaryoffensefor anyone under 18 not properly wearing a seat belt.
As a part of their obligation to help their children become responsible andsafe drivers, parents and guardians should:
• Talk to teens about safe driving skills before they turn 16.
• Establish a parent/teen driving contract.
• Strongly encourage teens to avoid distractions behind the wheel.
• Limit the number of passengers teens are allowed to have in theirvehicle.
• Limit dawn, dusk and nighttime driving until teens gain more experience,andenforce a curfew. Remember, state law prohibits 16- and 17-year-olds with ajunior license from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.• Gradually increase the amount of time and distance teens are allowed todrive.
• Enforce the need to obey speed limits and other rules of the road.
• Ride with their teens occasionally to monitor driving skills.
• Always set a good example.
PennDOT is proud to announce the availability of an additional, optionaltoolfor parents and guardians to utilize in their education efforts: PennDOT‘s new “Teen Driver” plate. The plate features an inverted triangle in red,with the words “Teen Driver” appearing in yellow letters in the triangle.
Thephrase, “Please Be Courteous,” is featured in blue letters on the sides ofthetriangle. The letters “T” and “D” appear vertically to the right of thesymbol.
The plate is available for $20 and can be ordered by visitingwww.dmv.state.pa.us.
For more information on young driver safety, visit PennDOT’s highway safetywebsite, www.JustDrivePA.com, and select the “Young Driver” link under theTraffic Safety Information Center.
From the office of Governor Corbett.