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PennDOT Secretary Takes Lead In Young Driver Safety Initiative

Highway Safety News, PennDOT News | June 22nd, 2016

PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards is using a personal approach in a new program aimed at delivering an important safety message to young drivers who are convicted of moving traffic violations.

Recently, drivers age 16 through 20 cited for driving infractions received a personal letter from Richards reminding them of the importance of obeying the law and the consequences of poor driving habits so early in their driving experience.

“The issue of young drivers definitely hits home with me as it does with any parent. Car crashes are the number one cause of death among 16- through 20-year-olds in Pennsylvania,” Richards said. “If we can save one young driver by my personally reminding them that a violation of traffic laws not only means a ticket, but even more serious consequences, then it is well worth the effort.”

The letter initiative expands upon an existing program through which 16- and 17-year-old drivers, as well as their parents, receive letters from the Department when the young drivers are guilty of a violation that results in points on their driving record or a suspension of their driving privilege.

The letter reminds young drivers that they have a personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others through knowledge of and obedience to traffic laws. It also uses statistical and scientific data about teen driver crashes and fatalities to drive these points home.

In 2015, there were 22,682 crashes involving a driver age 16 through 20, resulting in a total of 150 fatalities. These totals represent nearly 18 percent of the 2015 total crash number of 127,127 and 12.5 percent of the total 2015 fatality number of 1,200. The 397,690 drivers in this age group in 2015 represented just over four percent of licensed drivers.

Parents and young drivers can find important safety tips and information designed to help mitigate the chances of being involved in a crash by visiting www.penndot.gov/safety and looking under Traffic Safety and Driver Topics.