With motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for 16- to 20-year olds, The Century Council has been supportive of legislation that helps to inform young drivers about the severity of a vehicle crash and the very real consequences to themselves, their passengers, and the general public of operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner. Making sure underage individuals do not drink alcohol is an important step, but increasing driver education and awareness needs to be a key component as well.
One such piece of legislation was introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature earlier this year by Representative Kathy Watson, one of our 2011 Leadership Award winners. Last week, this legislation was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett. This new law will allow young drivers to receive more comprehensive training, limit the number of passengers that they may have in the car and make failing to wear a seatbelt a primary offense for them and their passengers.
By increasing the teen drivers’ supervised driving experience we can delay exposure to risky driving conditions until they have had a substantial level of supervision and driving experience, rather than simply sending them out on their own. We applaud the work and leadership of Governor Corbett, Representative Watson and her colleagues in the legislature on this important new law.