In Pennsylvania teenagers gradually get their driver’s licenses. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, first there is the “learner” stage at 16. This includes supervised driving and lasts for a minimum of six months. At 16 1/2 years old, teens enter the “intermediate” stage. In this stage there are still restrictions, most notably related to time and passengers. At 17, with driver’s education and without a crash or driving-related conviction in the past year, teens can get a regular driver’s license.
The point of Graduated Driver Licensing programs, such as the one in Pennsylvania, is to better prepare novice drivers. The hope is this will help prevent accidents involving teen drivers.
However, safety consultant Allan Williams said many of the benefits from the graduated licensing programs that were seen on a large scale are starting to level off. The leveling off, combined with the fact that more mileage was covered by teens last year, are pointed to as possible reasons for the increase in traffic fatalities involving teenage drivers for the first half of 2012.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, within the first six months of 2012 there were 240 highway fatalities involving 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers. Compared to the previous year during the same time period, this represents a 19 percent increase in the number of teen drivers killed in accidents.
Williams points to the economy as a big factor. On average, most teens do not have as much disposable income as adults. This means that when the economy took a dive, this really affected many teen drivers in terms of being able to buy the gas to drive places.
But now with the economy getting better, and teens either working or able to borrow more from their parents, they are able to once again afford more gas and drive more often.
Of course it is troubling to hear of so many young people dying on U.S. roadways. However, the take home message for Pennsylvania residents is that whether it is inexperience or carelessness, negligent drivers put others in direction danger of getting into motor vehicle accidents.
To learn more about how to hold negligent drivers accountable, visit our Philadelphia car accident page.