Health Department

Do You Know The Risks?

Recently, there have been many high school proms and subsequent graduations to put a few miles on the family vehicle. And each mile presents a unique set of navigating circumstances.  Certainly, sitting behind the steering wheel and making smart choices has never been more important, particularly now that young individuals are accepting the responsibility for the welfare of their friends, family and peers, as well as themselves, when driving. 

Just making a choice:  Driving to a party or shopping mall, or to a new job or college campus could be disastrous if mental discipline and common sense aren't the first priority

Being a young driver, skill and expertise are painfully limited. 

A young driver will realize, but not necessarily fully appreciate, the complexity of driving.  

In Pennsylvania, there is a great deal of credit given to the graduated driver licensing program. 

It is believed that this program is partly responsible for a reduction in car crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers over the past several years.  PennDOT Secretary, Allen Biehler, P.E. stated last Fall that,  "Drivers must constantly evaluate complex situations, make spit-second decisions and perform intricate maneuvers. 

A teen driver's lack of experience and potential for risk-taking can be a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, mix.

 PennDOT reported in 2007, that there were 9,833 crashes involving a 16- or 17- year-old driver, resulting in 104 fatalities, just in PA. 

You should know the causes:

  1. Driving too fast for conditions
  2. Driver inexperience
  3. Improper or careless turning
  4. Text messaging
  5. Adjusting the radio
  6. Excessive disturbance from passengers
  7. Cell phone use
  8. Eating while driving

Reduce Your Risks

The risk of a crash involving any of the above factors can be reduced or avoided with:

  1. Practice
  2. Setting a good example and
  3. Following the law.

PennDOT offers the following safety tips to teen drivers:

  1. Always wear your seatbelt - as a driver or passenger.
  2. Don't drink and drive.  Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal.
  3. Don't talk or text on your cell phone. Texting delays breaking by as much as 70 feet. See this CNBC video:
  4. Don't speed. Going too fast reduces time to react. Plan ahead; know where you are going; and have the directions.
  5. Leave early; Allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
  6. Expect the unexpected.  Anticipate problems.

Want to Learn More?

For more safe driving facts and related information, please go to:

Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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