Teens Hit the Road Ready to Face Responsibility

Teen driving safety week is one small reminder of the importance of safe driving

Connor Roy, Staff Reporter

Madison Slevin
Gearing up to get his driver’s license, Joey Shull, sophomore, practices driving as often as he can. Shull currently has his provisional license.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 and 18, according to www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.
Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 21-27, a time to remind teens about being responsible when they get behind the wheel of a car. Since most teen drivers have just a little more than one year of experience behind the wheel, they say they still get nervous.
“I usually feel confident, but I feel unsafe when I make a mistake,” Zach Williams, senior, said. “When casually driving down the road, though, I feel pretty safe.”
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute states that crashes are most likely to occur among newly licensed teenagers due to their lack of skill. This raises the question: Does the school administration and local government properly prepare teen drivers before giving them their license?
Senior Paul Seddon believes that school teaches the rules of the road, but it’s up to drivers to practice.
“Driving is about experience,” Seddon said. “Every driver needs a different amount of experience in different areas.”
Officer Jeff Tindle added, “School administration
teaches you the rules, it really falls on parents and the driving schools for practical driving skills.”
Philip Roper, drivers ED teacher, feels in some cases, it’s the driving schools that are failing the young drivers.
“Some behind the wheel companies are passing students through after just two or three days when the minimum is seven,” Roper said. “Some only drive for 15-20 minutes during the session.”
Roper supervises the parking lot each morning and sees some careless decisions made by student drivers.
“The speed in the parking lot is 15 mph, not 25 mph,” Roper said.”Many people think 25 mph is really slow; however, if they were to hit another student who darted out from between the parked cars, the could easily kill them. Not from the car, but from their head bouncing off the pavement.”
Roper added that student drivers need to know the right-of-way rules in a parking lot and make sure to stop at every stop sign.
For students who are currently learning to drive, Roper has some advice.
“Observing is overlooked. Many students would have a better understanding of roadway etiquette by watching their parents drive,” Roper said. “Cell phones have caused many to miss out on this valuable observation time.”
He added that the best teacher is experience.
“When you receive your Learner’s Permit, drive as much as possible,” Roper said. “Anytime your parents need to run an errand, they should have you drive. The more you drive, the better off you will be.”
Tindle added that teens need to obey the laws and follow the rules of the road.
“Stay off your phone; don’t distract yourself,” Tindle said. “Distracted driving is the main cause of accidents. What new drivers need to do is follow the rules of the road so it’s safe for everyone.”