Teen driver safety in Pennsylvania: What parents can do

There are several steps parents can take to help their teenager become a safer, better driver.

Many parents have concerns about keeping their teenager save after he or she earns a driver's license. These concerns are warranted because according to the National Safety Council, half of all teenage drivers will be involved in a car accident before they reach high school graduation.

Pennsylvania licensing laws

To protect teen drivers from dangerous mistakes caused by inexperience, the state of Pennsylvania allows teens to work towards an unrestricted license gradually. According to AAA, teenagers may apply for a learner's permit when they are 16, but they may only operate a vehicle with a licensed driver who is at least 21. The supervisor can also be a guardian or licensed spouse who is at least 18 years of age.

When drivers reach the age of 16 and 6 months, they are eligible for a junior license if they have held a permit for the prior six months. This allows teens to drive between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. unsupervised. During the first six months following licensure, only one unrelated passenger under 18 can be in the vehicle at once.

At the age of 17 and 6 months, teenagers can apply for a full, unrestricted license. To obtain one of these licenses, teen drivers must have held a junior license for a full 12 months and remained conviction and crash-free. They must also complete a certified driver education course.

Tips for parents

While state laws can help teenagers become safer, better drivers, there are still steps parents should take to ensure their child's safety out on the road. For example, parents should reinforce the rules their teen learned in driver's education.

Parents should also remain calm and focused when their teen makes a driving mistake. While practicing, parents and their child should be the only ones in the car and different driving situations should be attempted, starting with drives in daylight when traffic is light.

Additionally, parents should be careful to act as a role model for their teen. Parents should always wear their seatbelt and avoid distracted driving by putting away their cellphone.

Contact an attorney

While parents in Pennsylvania may work hard to ensure their teen becomes a safe driver, they cannot control the actions of others out on the road. Those harmed in a collision caused by a negligent driver should contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Leisawitz Heller for further information about their legal rights and what they should do next.