Towanda Daily Review
Adult supervision is a critical component of keeping teen drivers safe on the roads, even after they have been licensed, PennDOT said in recognition of Teen Driver Safety Week.
Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed this week as Teen Driver Safety Week to coincide with the national observance.
“Parents must set a positive, safe example for the young drivers in their family and remember that their responsibility for driver training continues after their teen receives their license,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E. “Safely operating a vehicle requires complex evaluations, split-second decisions and intricate maneuvers. Parents are in the best position to evaluate a teen driver’s knowledge, skills and abilities behind the wheel.”
From 2006 to 2010, there were 115,539 crashes involving at least one 16- to 19-year-old driver in Pennsylvania, resulting in 980 deaths. Nearly 43 percent of those crashes were the result of the teen driver driving too fast for conditions (25,776 crashes), driver inexperience (3,300),
driver distraction (9,460) and improper/careless turning (11,139).
The risk of a crash involving any of these factors can be reduced through practice, limiting the number of passengers riding with a teen driver, parents setting a good example for the teen driver, obeying all rules of the road and using common sense.
As a part of their obligation to help their children become responsible and safe drivers, parents should:
– Talk to your teen about safe driving skills before they turn 16.
– Establish a parent/teen driving contract.
– Strongly encourage your teen to avoid distractions behind the wheel, such as talking or texting on the cell phone.
– Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to have in their vehicle.
– Limit dawn, dusk and nighttime driving until your teen gains more experience, and enforce a curfew. Remember, state law prohibits 16- and 17-year-olds with a junior license from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
– Gradually increase the amount of time/distance your teen is allowed to drive.
– Enforce observance of speed limits and other rules of the road.
– Ride with your teen occasionally to monitor driving skills.
– Set a good example.
Teen drivers must also do their part by following these common-sense safety tips:
– Always wear your seat belt.
– Never drink and drive at any age; drinking under the age of 21 is illegal.
– Avoid distractions behind the wheel, such as talking or texting on a cell phone, adjusting the radio, combing hair or applying makeup, and eating.
– Obey the speed limit; driving too fast gives you less time to react.
– Adjust radio/climate controls before beginning your trip, have your passenger adjust the controls for you or adjust the controls when stopped.
– Plan ahead – know where you are going and get directions.
– Leave early and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
– Expect the unexpected.
For more information on young driver safety, visit PennDOT’s highway safety website, www.DriveSafePA.org and select the “Young Driver” link under the Traffic Safety Information Center.