WEST WHITELAND TWP, PA — On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Chester County Highway Safety Project, Delaware County Transportation Management Association, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and TMA Bucks Community Traffic Safety hosted the 2nd Annual Southeastern Pennsylvania Teen Safe Driving ROADeo.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 24-year-olds. Key contributing factors in crashes involving teen drivers in Pennsylvania include driver distractions, driving too fast for conditions, improper or careless turning, and driver inexperience. The ROADeo promoted positive driving behaviors behind the wheel and on the road.
“With state and local police in attendance, the event instilled in teens that driving is a serious task requiring all of your attention,” said Chester County Highway Safety Project Director Lori Aguilera. “This program is designed to enhance awareness of the risk for novice drivers and provide tools that support safe driving behaviors.”
Crash data for 2021 is not yet complete, but in 2020 there were 4,952 crashes in Pennsylvania involving a 16 to 17-year-old driver, resulting in 26 fatalities and 166 suspected serious injuries. In 2021, the number of fatalities increased to 45.
“We showed the teens what to do while driving and what not to do as a passenger,” said Carly Mannon, who manages the Bucks County Community Traffic Safety Program. “Our goal is to save teen lives,” added Montgomery County Community Traffic Safety Program Manager Elizabeth Raum.
The free event, held at the West Whiteland Township Police Department in Chester County, gave teens more experience behind the wheel using educational and interactive demonstrations.
“We had eight stations that provided everything from safety tips to driving simulations, along with stations that demonstrated what to do when driving through work zones, what to do during traffic stops, as well as heavy truck blind spots,” said Alyson Strigle, Delaware County Transportation Management Association Project Director.
Stations also covered the use of jumper cables, how to check oil and fluids, and how to change a tire.
The Teen Safe Driving ROADeo, open to all high school students in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, began in 2019. Participation has climbed from 35 students to nearly 70 this year.
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