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Early guidance makes safer teen drivers

October 16, 2017 12:00 AM
By: Larissa Newton

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​National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress in 2007 as the third week of October. It's an important week that aims to raise awareness about teens' elevated crash risk — vehicle crashes being the leading cause of death among 16-24-year-olds.

The American Medical Association found that teen drivers with one passenger in the vehicle were 39 percent more likely to get into a crash, and when there are three or more passengers in the vehicle with the teen driver, the risk of a crash increases by 182 percent. But only 1 in 10 teens are aware of this risk factor, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

That's why parents play such an important role in ensuring that their teenagers learn the rules of the road and stay safe behind the wheel. CHOP also found that parents who set, monitor, and enforce safe-driving practices have teens who are less likely to crash and violate the law. Make sure you are familiar with Pennsylvania's Graduated Driver Licensing law (PDF), and check out the Parent's Supervised Driving Program handbook (PDF).



Since teen drivers will often find themselves driving on school campuses, it's especially important for them to be familiar with Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law.

  • Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended.
  • Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus, or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
  • Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.
  • Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
Animated graphic showing aspects of Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law  



But teen driving goes beyond just knowing the laws — you should become familiar with insurance requirements, too. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department, in conjunction with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, developed a lesson for high school students, called Insurance 101 For Teen Drivers. It helps explain what insurance is, what is covered, and how to buy a policy.

Get more information on young driver safety at or by visiting Parents Central with resources provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Join the conversation on social media with #PATeenDriver​. Follow PennDOT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.​​

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