Pros and Cons of Pennsylvania Driving Age
January 10, 2018
Obtaining a driver’s license is a right of passage for a teenager, but statistics show that teens may not be ready to handle the responsibilities that come with a driver’s license. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 are at the highest risk of getting into a car accident. In response to these statistics, Pennsylvania has joined other states around the country in establishing a graduated driver’s license law.
The program uses a system of increasing independence behind the wheel as new drivers under the age of 18 earn their way toward full driving privileges. Teens as young as 15 years old can secure a learner’s permit after they pass a written driver’s information test that allows them to operate a motor vehicle when accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years or older. They must complete a total of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction during a six-month period.
Once the driver completes these requirements, they can apply for a road test that will enable them to achieve a provisional driver’s license. This level of licensing allows the driver to operate a motor vehicle unsupervised, but they have several strict limitations, including prohibitions from driving between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., as well as limitations on the number of passengers they can carry. Once the driver turns 18, they graduate to a full driver’s license. A driver under 18 can obtain a full license after a period of 12 months without an accident or driving conviction. They must also complete an approved driver education program.
While the Pennsylvania Graduated Drivers License program helps teenagers gain experience and maturity that can decrease their risk of getting into an automobile accident, some complain that the restriction limits the teen’s ability to obtain a job. Many 15 and 16-year-old students obtain part-time jobs to help earn money to support the cost of their extracurricular activities, or to help pay for their car insurance. Teenagers that are in the learning permit stage or provisional driving period have limitations placed on their ability to drive during the hours they need to work.
Those that graduate from high school before turning 18 years old may also face limitations on college attendance. Many commuter students rely on their own transportation to travel to and from classes. Without full driving license privileges, these young adults may face obstacles that prevent them from fully experiencing college life and activities. The pros and cons of the new driving laws are yet to be seen, but safety advocates are hopeful that the extra time to mature and gain experience behind the wheel will result in a reduction of teenage car accidents.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Teen Driver Safety
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call the experienced team of Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 800-222-8792, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, allowing us to serve clients throughout the state and in New Jersey.