Advice for teen drivers
This advice for teen drivers this summer comes from Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Kelly Smith, Troop H community services officer.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens across the state of Pennsylvania. With fall sports practices starting up, it’s important for our teen drivers to be mindful of safety when driving to and from practices.
Crashes are often avoidable, but when driving aggressively or distracted, deadly mistakes can occur.
More than half of teen fatal crashes involve only one car. Approximately 80% of all crashes are caused by human error.
Here are some tips you can review with your teen driver to help keep them safe behind the wheel:
- Buckle up every time they are in a vehicle. Teenage drivers and all passengers under the age of 18 are required by law to wear their seatbelts.
- Buckling up is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the chances of death and serious injury in the event of a crash.
- Seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury by up to 60%. It’s important for parents and caregivers to model proper behavior for their teens. Children who grow up watching their parents buckle up are more likely to use their seatbelt when they become drivers.
Safe driving tips
- Limit distractions. A distraction can be visually taking your eyes off the road, manually taking your hands off the steering wheel, or cognitively taking your mind away from the task of driving.
- While all distractions are dangerous, texting is most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.
- Make sure your teenage driver does not use their cell phone to text or make phone calls. Have them turn the phone off, put it in the glove box, or on do not disturb until they reach their destination.
- In Pennsylvania, the Texting Law prohibits using a device to write, send, or a read a text, or to check the internet, apps, or email.
- Passengers can also be a distraction to a teen driver, increasing their likelihood of being involved in a crash. Adding one male passenger doubles the risk of death for a 16-year old driver.
Speeding: Leading cause of crashes
Always obey speed limits and all posted signs. Speeding is a leading cause of car crashes. It makes the car more difficult to control, especially in bad weather.
Running red lights, not stopping at stop signs, weaving in and out of traffic, and other irresponsible driving behaviors also increase the chance of a crash.
Most crashes are preventable. It’s important to make good choices while driving to keep everyone on the roads safe.
Trooper smith urges parents to talk to their teenage driver, review the rules and help keep them safe behind the wheel.
Trooper Kelly Smith is a PSP Troop H Community Services Officer Stationed in Carlisle. Her job is to inform the public about crime awareness and increase public safety.