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National Teen Driver Safety Week Rules For The Road

Highway Safety News, PennDOT News, TMA News | October 9th, 2023

During National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 15-21, 2023) our Community Traffic Safety Program works to spread the word about teen driving safety.

Teens, this is a great time to review safe driving habits with family members and other teen drivers. Data shows that, for your age group (15-18 years old), some of the greatest dangers in the vehicle while driving include alcohol consumption, inconsistent or no seatbelt use, distracted driving, speeding, and driving with passengers.

Please review the following information to stay safe on the roads during this time of inexperience and learning!

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States.
  • In 2021, there were 2,608 people killed in crashes involving a teen passenger vehicle driver (15-18 years old), of which 861 deaths were the teen passenger vehicle driver.
  • Others may influence your driving choices, but it’s ultimately up to you to make the right decisions when you’re in a vehicle.
  • While you’re too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol, 19% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 had alcohol in their system.
  • Alcohol isn’t the only drug that can impair your driving ability: Marijuana, like other drugs, affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task, and marijuana slows reaction times.
  • Illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs can impair driving and have deadly consequences. Before taking any medication, know that there is a potential for some medications to impair your ability to drive.
  • Seatbelts are designed to keep everyone in the vehicle safer, whether you’re sitting in the front or back seat, by preventing you from being ejected from your vehicle in the event of a crash. But they only work if you use them correctly.
  • In 2021, more than half (51%) of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in crashes were unbuckled. Even more troubling, when the teen driver involved in the fatal crash was unbuckled, nine out of 10 of the passengers who died were also unbuckled.
  • Distractions while driving are more than just risky — they can be deadly. In 2021, the most recent data available, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 7% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • The use of mobile devices while driving is a big problem, but there are other causes of teen distracted driving that pose dangers as well, like adjusting the radio, applying makeup, eating or drinking, or distractions from other vehicle passengers.
  • In 2021, almost one-third (32%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and males were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than females.
  • Did you know that teen drivers transporting passengers can be deadly? Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger in a motor vehicle. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.