Teen Driver

Teen Driver

Pennsylvania DUI Association


Rock the Belt Campaign


Pennsylvania’s GDL Law for Enforcement







Announcing the Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving Resource Guide


Keeping teens safe on the roadway has been a long standing goal of the PA DUI Association. Over the last decade PA DUI has partnered with many corporate and government entities to keep our youngest drivers safe.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Pennsylvania teens. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), there were 28 fatalities in crashes involving 16 and 17-year old drivers and 23,891 16 to 20- year-olds were involved in reportable crashes on the Commonwealth’s roadways in 2015.

Pennsylvania, like the other 49 states, is addressing teen driver safety by enacting graduated driver license or GDL laws.  This three-stage licensing system includes a learner or supervised practice driving stage, a  junior license (intermediate) stage that allows for unsupervised driving but includes restrictions that address risk, and a full licensure stage where all provisions are lifted. GDL works – research shows it cuts crashes 20 to 40%[1] — because it gets to the heart of why teens crash and die on our roadways by:

  • delaying full licensure (a good thing because of the developmental, behavioral and experiential issues described above);
  • limiting passengers and banning texting  (key sources of teen distraction);
  • keeping teens off the road late at night (when they’re likely to be fatigued and/or joyriding); and
  • requiring seat belt use (critical due to teens’ elevated crash risk and the lifesaving benefit of proper restraint).

Pennsylvania strengthened its GDL law in 2011 to include additional practice hours during the learner’s permit stage (65 hours, 10 at night and 5 in inclement weather), a limit on teen passengers (no more than one under 18 years of age during the first six months of junior licensure) and a primary seat belt requirement for the driver and all passengers under 18.[2]  An all-driver texting ban also went into effect in March 2012.

Building upon Pennsylvania’s GDL and texting laws, PennDOT partnered with the PA DUI Association to develop this online teen safe driving resource guide.  At the heart of this document is a matrix of teen safe driving-related resources currently available in the Commonwealth ranging from websites, printed materials and facilitated programs, to simulators, behind the wheel training, workshops, and school-based initiatives.  These resources were identified through a survey of more than 1,000 individuals working in the traffic safety and public health sectors, and through interviews and on-line research.

To ensure that the resource guide is current, annual updates are planned.  Organizations interested in having their teen safe driving resource considered for inclusion in the next edition of this guide, should contact Felicity DeBacco Erni, Project Director, at 717-238-4354 or [email protected].  Guide users are also encouraged to contact Felicity if they encounter a problem accessing any of the resources listed in this current edition.

Mile for mile teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.  But there is good news – fatalities involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers in the Keystone State are the lowest on record.  Teen driving, however, remains a priority for PennDOT, the PA DUI Association and their many partners who recognize that further reductions can only be achieved and sustained through a comprehensive program.   Working collaboratively, government, law enforcement, non-profit, and private sector organizations across the state are dedicating significant resources to not only educate teens, parent and all roadway users about the risks for novice drivers, but also to enforcing lifesaving laws.  Recognizing that no death is acceptable, they’re committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvania teens survive their most dangerous driving years.