Pennsylvania Coalition

We are Coalition of more than 60 organizations committed to helping teens leverage the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). We are affiliated with state and local government, law enforcement and public health agencies, traffic safety and injury prevention organizations, academia and businesses. We’re also teens, parents and crash victims.

While teen crashes and fatalities nationwide fell to record lows in 2010, our goal is zero -- no crashes, injuries or fatalities. Ensuring that teens survive the most dangerous time of their life is not just the responsibility of parents, police and school officials, but every citizen. 

Led by Felicity DeBacco-Erni, the Pennsylvania SADD Coordinator at the Pennsylvania DUI Association, our Coalition is working collaboratively to effect change in Pennsylvania. We invite you to learn about our initiatives and to join us. There are no monthly meetings or membership dues; your only obligation is to help spread the word about Pennsylvania's GDL program.

 

News

Initiatives

Ticket Your Parents

 
The Ticket Your Parent(s) program was designed by the Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition in partnership with the National Safety Council. Ticket Your Parent(s) is for teachers or organization leaders who closely work with pre-teens. Program facilitators give pre-teens a book of mock traffic tickets to issue to parents or other adult drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. After the program ends, pre-teens discuss what they learned while observing their parents' driving behaviors. 

 

Register to host Ticket Your Parent(s)! All materials are free and available for download as soon as you register. 
 
 

The HEARTS Network

Nearly everyone knows someone whose life has been impacted by a teen driving-related crash. The National Safety Council manages the HEARTS Network, a nationwide group of families and victims who have been directly impacted by a teen-related crash. The HEARTS Network - an acronym for Honoring Everyone Affected, Rallying The Survivors - helps families and victims support one another and advocate for change. We encourage anyone who has been impacted to join the HEARTS Network and the Teen Safe Driving Coalitions. 

Personal stories play an important role in affecting change. For that purpose, we have created a “Sharing HEARTS” section of the HEARTS Network webpage dedicated to telling the stories of those whose lives have changed forever because of teen-related crashes.

Visit the HEARTS Network webpage to learn more. 

 

GDL Game Plan for Coaches

The GDL Game Plan for Coaches is a vehicle for high school and recreational or travel league coaches to hold an open dialog with athletes about enforcing and adhering to GDL laws in their state. The 4-page document includes an overview of how and why the New York GDL program works; offers suggestions for engaging athletes, parents and fans; outlines a sample code of conduct; and lists online resources. Information for coaches, athletes and parents about the Coaches Game Plan – including sample text for a GDL Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The PDFs are available below.

GDL

What is the Graduated Driver License Program?

First implemented in Michigan and Florida in the mid-1990s, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a three-step system designed to provide novice drivers with the necessary tools to be safe on our roadways and minimize those things that cause them the greatest risk of crash – distraction caused by other passengers, the use of cell phones and electronic devices as well as driving late at night and riding unbelted. There is a minimum age for teens to be eligible for a driver’s permit, a mandatory holding period or probationary license and a basic or full license.

What does Pennsylvania’s GDL program entail?

Young Pennsylvania drivers must:

  • Be 16 to obtain a permit
  • Complete 65 hours of driving – 10 of which must be at night and 5 of which must be in inclement weather – over the next 6 months before they can obtain a junior, or restricted, license at 16 years and 6 months old 
  • Never drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the junior licensing phase 
  • Never carry more than one passenger younger than 18 during the first 6 months of the junior licensing phase. After the first 6 months, teens can carry no more than 3 passengers. Siblings are an exception
  • Consider taking a driver's education course
  • Be at least 17 to obtain a senior, unrestricted license 

Why does Pennsylvania need a GDL program? 

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens, and their crash risk is four times that of an experienced driver. The risk is highest when teens are in the first 12 to 24 months of licensure.

The “License to Save” report issued by The Allstate Foundation in December 2011 estimates that 6,194 people in Pennsylvania have been killed in teen-related motor vehicle crashes since 1991. It also estimates that 2,414 lives have been saved since Pennsylvania implemented GDL laws. The implementation of GDL programs has saved approximately 14,820 lives nationwide since 1991. It is proven to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers.

Why are passengers dangerous for teen drivers?

Most teen crashes involve some form of distraction, and passengers are particularly distracting to young drivers. A teen driver is twice as likely to be killed in a crash while carrying just one passenger, regardless of whether the passenger is a friend of a sibling. Carrying two passengers increases crash risk by 158 percent, and three passengers increases risk by 207 percent.

Why is nighttime driving risky for teens?

Forty percent of all teen driver fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. While Pennsylvania has its own nighttime driving restrictions, parents are encouraged to set earlier curfews during the first few months of the intermediate driving phase.

May teen drivers use hands-free cell phones?

Pennsylvania does not have a cell phone ban in place for any motorist on its roadways, although its texting ban takes effect on March 9, 2012. Research clearly shows that both handheld and hands-free devices cause manual, cognitive and visual distraction and the National Safety Council and the National Transportation Safety Board have called for a nationwide ban of all cell phone use while driving for all motorists regardless of age.

How can I help a teen driver gain more experience?

Research clearly shows that GDL programs are the most effective tool for addressing teen crash risk because they help novice drivers build skill while minimizing risk. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, older sibling, neighbor or friend, learning about and enforcing the GDL program is important. 

Parents in particular play a critical role in teen driver safety. Teens who report having parents that set rules and monitor their activities in a helpful and supportive way are half as likely to crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving and 50 percent more likely to wear a safety belt. By partnering with parents, you can help to ensure that they know about and leverage the proven principles of GDL so their teens gain skill and become good drivers for life.

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