May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month

Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license.  It is one of the milestones of their life.  However, handing over the car keys to their child is one of the most stressful moments of being a parent. That stress comes from the fact that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 24 year olds.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month and PennDOT is encouraging parents of teenage drivers to review Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver Licensing law.  The GDL law has been shown to be effective in reducing crashes and fatalities for teen drivers. The GDL lays out restrictions for drivers with a learner’s permit, as well as those with a junior license.

Last year, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards began delivering personal safety messages to young drivers convicted of moving traffic violations. Driver’s between the ages 16 and 20 who were cited for driving violations received a personal letter from Richards reminding them of the importance of following the law and the consequences of developing bad driving habits so early in their driving experience.

“The issue of young drivers definitely hits home with me as it does with any parent,” Richards said. “If we can save one young driver by my personally reminding them that a violation of traffic laws not only means a ticket, but even more serious consequences, then it is well worth the effort.”


From teaching their kids how to drive and sending them out to drive on their own after they receive their license, parents should take the time to talk with their kids about the many dangers of driving and give them the proper tips and instructions for safe driving.



  • Set a good example.
  • Make sure they know the rules of the road.
  • Make sure your vehicle is safe and well-maintained.
  • Start out slow and simple, in a low traffic area or a parking lot.
  • Work your way up to more difficult/high traffic driving.
  • Teach them how each of the controls work in the vehicle.  Such as the headlights, hazard lights, turn signals, wipers, etc.
  • Make sure they know what do in different situations such as a flat tire or an accident


  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Use your turn signals
  • Don’t drink and drive. Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal but driving under the influence significantly adds to the danger.
  • Pay attention to the conditions of the road.  Driving in bad weather is very different then driving in dry conditions.
  • Don’t use your cell phone while driving.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and if you’re late don’t rush.


Get more information on young driver safety at or by visiting Parents Central with resources provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

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