According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 2,858 crashes that resulted in injuries in Bucks County, PA in 2012. Throughout the state, about 13 percent of accidents involved drivers younger than 21.
New drivers, especially younger drivers under the age of 18 years old, are generally at higher risk of an accident. If new drivers recognize these risks and follow a few tips, they may avoid serious accidents and injury.
Risks New Drivers Face after Licensure
It takes a while to develop enough experience, skills and practice to drive well. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 16-year-old drivers have an especially high rate of accidents in the first couple months of driving(over 250 per 10,000 drivers), which declines over the next few months to about 100 crashes per 10,000 drivers after nine to ten months.
One study found that drivers who completed 110 hours of driving practice before getting their licenses had a reduced risk of getting into an accident, according to the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina. This highlights the importance of driver training and graduated driver’s license programs that allow new drivers to develop their skills before setting off on their own.
New drivers are often young drivers between 16 and 18 years old. During this time, teens may be more likely to engage in impulsive behavior. These impulses are often compounded if younger drivers drive with groups of friends, and peer pressure may lead to young drivers acting on their impulses.
Friends can be sources of distraction while in the car, as well as out of it as young drivers may text and talk on their cell phone while driving.
Safety Tips for New Drivers
Drivers may choose to avoid bad weather conditions until they feel more confident driving in ideal conditions, though it’s important to obtain experience driving in these conditions, which is a requirement of the learner’s permit discussed below.
All drivers should take steps to reduce distractions on the road. They should pick a radio station and know directions to their destination before setting off. There should be no cell phone use, texting, eating or putting on makeup while driving either. Parents may even check their teen’s cell phone bill for activity while driving to ensure they obey this rule.
Parents can talk to their teen driver about the dangers of driving and ways to prevent accidents. They may prohibit driving with friends in the car, and may also require their child take a driver’s education course with a qualified driving instructor. This can help the new child build safe habits that they can carry with them as they begin to drive on their own.
Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver’s License Program
In an effort to keep new drivers and others on the road safe, Pennsylvania has a graduated license program for new drivers under 18 years old. Drivers begin with a learner’s permit requiring they be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old. They must accumulate 65 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours of nighttime and five hours of bad weather driving.
Drivers may then obtain a junior license. For the first six months, these drivers cannot have more than one person under the age of 18 in their car at one time. Also, until a driver turns 18 years old, he or she cannot have more than three passengers in the car at the same time and cannot drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Drivers may eventually obtain an unrestricted license at 18 years old, though some may qualify sooner.
We hope you never have to contact us, but if you were involved in an accident in Southampton, or if your new teen driver was in an accident, contact Cordisco & Saile to discuss options for recovering compensation. Call our office at 215-642-2335 or contact us online.