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Thursday, October 20, 2016

PennDOT Secretary Hosts Teen Driver Safety Forum

Harrisburg, PA – As a means of addressing safe driving among teenagers and in recognition of Governor Tom Wolf’s proclamation of Teen Driver Safety Week October 16 – 22, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards hosted an online Teen Driver Safety Forum with students from 10 schools throughout the commonwealth today.

“Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens. It is important for all of us to keep an open line of communication with teen drivers and help them to understand that driving is a very complex activity with potentially deadly consequences if safe driving habits are ignored,” said Richards. “All of us can play a part in teen driver safety by setting good examples for our teens; it’s a partnership among all of us.”

Joining Richards on the forum’s panel were Corporal Adam Reed, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police; Felicity DeBacco Erni, director of the Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving Coalition/SADD; and Kathy Silcox, Cumberland County district justice.

The panel members fielded a number of questions from the students addressing a wide array of issues facing young drivers, such as use of seatbelts, driver training and infractions most commonly committed by teen drivers. The electronic meeting application used for the forum was provided by the Pennsylvania Division of the American Trauma Society.

From 2011 to 2015, there were 88,920 crashes involving at least one 16- to 19-year old driver in Pennsylvania, resulting in 646 fatalities. Nearly 55 percent of those crashes involved the teen driver driving too fast for conditions (24,783 crashes), driver inexperience (8,998), driver distraction (11,230) or improper/careless turning (10,344). There were a total of 48,598 crashes with one or more of these teen driver factors.

To spur discussion and actions at the schools regarding teen driver safety topics beyond Teen Driver Safety Week, Richards issued a call to action letter encouraging the young drivers participating in the forum to organize events at their respective schools to help spread the word that safety is of paramount importance among our most vulnerable drivers.

PennDOT has provided a place on its web site to help students share their experiences with other teen drivers in hopes of encouraging teen drivers to reflect on safe driving and keep the spirit of Teen Driver Safety Week alive throughout the year. The page is located at

For more information on teen driver safety, visit, click on Traffic Safety and Driver Topics and look under the Young Driver tab.

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