Harrisburg, PA – As a means of addressing safe driving among teenagers and in recognition of Governor Tom Wolf’s proclamation of Teen Driver Safety Week October 16 – 22, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards hosted an online Teen Driver Safety Forum with students from 10 schools throughout the commonwealth today.
“Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens. It is important for all of us to keep an open line of communication with teen drivers and help them to understand that driving is a very complex activity with potentially deadly consequences if safe driving habits are ignored,” said Richards. “All of us can play a part in teen driver safety by setting good examples for our teens; it’s a partnership among all of us.”
Joining Richards on the forum’s panel were Corporal Adam Reed, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police; Felicity DeBacco Erni, director of the Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving Coalition/SADD; and Kathy Silcox, Cumberland County district justice.
The panel members fielded a number of questions from the students addressing a wide array of issues facing young drivers, such as use of seatbelts, driver training and infractions most commonly committed by teen drivers. The electronic meeting application used for the forum was provided by the Pennsylvania Division of the American Trauma Society.
From 2011 to 2015, there were 88,920 crashes involving at least one 16- to 19-year old driver in Pennsylvania, resulting in 646 fatalities. Nearly 55 percent of those crashes involved the teen driver driving too fast for conditions (24,783 crashes), driver inexperience (8,998), driver distraction (11,230) or improper/careless turning (10,344). There were a total of 48,598 crashes with one or more of these teen driver factors.
To spur discussion and actions at the schools regarding teen driver safety topics beyond Teen Driver Safety Week, Richards issued a call to action letter encouraging the young drivers participating in the forum to organize events at their respective schools to help spread the word that safety is of paramount importance among our most vulnerable drivers.
Editor’s Note: The following is a list of schools that participated in the forum and their respective counties:
- Grove City High School, Grove City; Mercer County
- Bellefonte High School, Bellefonte; Centre County
- Bloomsburg Area High School, Bloomsburg; Columbia County
- Parkland High School, Allentown; Lehigh County
- Central York High School, York; York County
- Mechanicsburg Senior High School, Mechanicsburg; Cumberland County
- Hollidaysburg Area High School, Hollidaysburg; Blair County
- Penns Manor Area Junior/Senior High School, Clymer, PA; Indiana County
- Chartiers Valley High School, Bridgeville; Allegheny County
- Canon McMillan High School, Canonsburg; Washington County
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