2011-05-19 / Local & State

Young Drivers Urged To Keep Graduation Season From Ending In Tragedy

With graduation season underway and summer vacation fast approaching, PennDOT reminds young drivers to avoid distractions and focus their full attention on the road.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season, but a moment of distraction or carelessness behind the wheel can have permanent and tragic consequences,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E. “Driving is a complex activity requiring motorists to make split-second decisions and intricate maneuvers; skills that suffer greatly whenever a driver is distracted or under the influence.”

From 2006 to 2010, there were 114,627 crashes in Pennsylvania involving 16- to 19- year-old drivers. Tragically, those crashes resulted in 952 deaths. Nearly half of those crashes resulted from speeding, driving too fast for conditions, driver inexperience, driver distraction or improper or careless turning.

Crash risks 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 exercising common sense.

From 2006 through 2010, 3,386 crashes involved a teen driver who had consumed alcohol. Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance Law carries serious consequences for those under 21 who consume any amount of alcohol. The law sets the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at .02 for minors to be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). If under age 21, a person convicted of DUI will face a jail term of two days to six months, have their license suspended for at least one year and pay a fine of $500 to $5,000.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month. For information go to www.DriveSafePA.org , select Young Driver link under the Traffic Safety Information Center.

Return to top