Teens and driving bring to mind a time in most adults lives when they felt like they were invincible, that they were finally growing up. Getting one’s license to drive as a teenager really is a step toward adulthood. A license is more than just the ability to drive. It’s a safety threat that Pennsylvania lawmakers have attempted to mitigate.

Last year marked the first full year that new teen driving laws were in effect. The laws require more hours of training for teen drivers and also set stricter limits on the passengers that can ride in young, inexperienced drivers’ vehicles. Based on numbers, it seems like the state can celebrate the fact that the laws have made for fewer fatal accidents involving teens.

In the past post, we shared how there were more traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2012 than in 2011. Among that bad news, however, was the somewhat positive indication that fewer teen lives were lost last year. Lawmakers are attributing the one-third decrease in teen traffic deaths last year to the stricter licensing laws.

Another stricter law went into effect last spring in the state that could also have specifically affected teen safety. Texting behind the wheel has been legally prohibited for over a year now, possibly impacting the rate of teen traffic deaths as well as accidents related to distracted driving.

Still, traffic safety officials emphasize how improvements must remain a focus. A reported 1,310 people died in Pennsylvania crashes last year. That’s still too many lives lost to what were likely various reckless driving habits.

Do you have any insight on how you think driving laws should change in order to further prevent fatal motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania?

Source: The Times Herald, “Teen driver deaths drop during first year of tougher Pa. law,” Carl Hessler Jr., April 8, 2013