As part of its ongoing effort to improve highway safety, PennDOT is providing school districts with brief monthly messages for inclusion in websites or in electronic newsletters. These messages will cover various safety topics from school bus safety to underage DUI to texting and driving. It is our hope that parents and students will benefit from these safety tips.
June – summer driving
1. With the impending arrival of summer, now is a good time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the rigors of summer driving. Have it checked by a mechanic you trust and learn what you can do to get your vehicle in shape at www.dmv.state.pa.us.
2. With the school year ending across Pennsylvania, more people will be walking or riding their bikes for pleasure and exercise. Familiarize yourself with the PA Bicycle Drivers Manual by visiting justdrivepa.org/Resources/Bicycle-Guide.pdf. Additionally, check out PennDOT’s series of bicycle and pedestrian safety videos at youtube.com/pennsylvaniaDOT.
1. You make choices every day – what to wear, what to eat, what TV show to watch, what songs to listen to on the radio. So, why not make the choice every day to be safe behind the wheel, to protect your safety and the safety of others? What would happen if you chose to speed, to talk or text on your cell phone, chose not to buckle your seat belt, or to drink and drive? Who would be left behind? Whose lives would you impact by making choices that could have devastating consequences? When behind the wheel, you’re in control of a lethal weapon, so make sure you always focus on the task at hand – driving safely. May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month – remember, buckling your seat belt takes like two seconds and that call or text can totally wait! And, let’s not forget the dangers of speeding, and drinking and driving. To help you make wise choices behind the wheel, visit the Young Driver section at http://www.justdrivepa.com/.
2. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16-24 year olds. Some key contributors to crashes involving teen drivers in Pennsylvania include driver inexperience, driver distractions, driving too fast for conditions and improper or careless turning. PennDOT offers numerous resources for young drivers, as well as parents and guardians, to help keep everyone safe on the road during this time. Try putting your phone in the back seat so that you aren’t tempted to text or call while driving, and be aware of the speeds you’re driving at. It only takes a moment for a crash to occur, so make sure to remain alert at all times. For more tips visit the Young Driver section on JustDrivePA.com.
It’s also National Bike Month – check out PennDOT’s series of bicycle and pedestrian safety videos for viewers of all ages at www.youtube.com/pennsylvaniadot.
drinking and driving both carry serious consequences for those under 21. Pennsylvania´s Zero Tolerance Law includes fines, license suspensions and even jail time for minors who drive impaired, consume, possess or transport alcohol, or lie about age to purchase alcohol. Adults who are convicted of knowingly and intentionally supplying minors with alcohol are also subject to fines and jail. More about the Zero Tolerance Law is available at JustDrivePA.com.
2. Pennsylvania´s Zero Tolerance Law carries serious consequences for those under 21 who are convicted of driving with any amount of alcohol in their blood. For example, those under 21 who are convicted of driving under the influence with a .02 blood alcohol content, or greater, face severe penalties, including a 12-to-18-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months in jail, and fines from $500 to $5,000.
3. A vehicle does not have to be involved in order for those under 21 to lose their driving privileges. It is against the law for an individual under the age of 21 to consume, possesses or transport alcohol, or lie about their age to obtain alcohol and carry a fake identification card. If convicted, the minimum penalties are a fine of up to $500, plus court costs; a 90-day license suspension for the first offense; a 1-year suspension for the second offense; and a 2-year suspension for the third and subsequent offenses. For more information please visit the Impaired Driving Page on www.JustDrivePA.com
It’s also Distracted Driving Awareness Month! Learn more at http://www.justdrivepa.org/Traffic-Safety-Information-Center/Distracted-Driving/.
March – work zone safety
2. Each year when the weather improves, Pennsylvanians and travelers through the state can anticipate seeing many work zones. While PennDOT and its industry partners are busy improving the 40,000 miles of roadway and 25,000 bridges in its care, we urge motorists to keep safety in mind.
3. If you encounter our work zones, please keep the following tips in mind for your safety and the safety of highway workers.
• Drive the posted work-zone speed limit.
• Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers.
• Turn on your headlights if signs instruct you to do so.
• Maintain a safe distance around vehicles. Don’t tailgate.
• Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly.
• Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road.
• Always buckle up.
• Expect the unexpected.
• Be patient.
For more information visit the Work Zone Safety page on www.JustDrivePA.com
Just Drive- Work Zone Smarthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aOHMHipXXk
February – aggressive driving
2. If you encounter an aggressive driver, PennDOT offers these tips:
• Get out of their way and don't challenge them.
• Stay relaxed, avoid eye contact and ignore rude gestures.
• Don't block the passing lane if you are driving slower than most of the traffic.
3. While many people associate aggressive driving with road rage, they are two different behaviors. Road rage, which is a criminal offense, is often the result of aggressive driving behavior that escalates into an assault with a vehicle or other dangerous weapon. For more information on aggressive driving visit, JustDrivePA.com.
January – winter driving
2. Winter driving can be dangerous with the rapidly changing weather and road conditions. Make sure that your vehicle is prepared. Ensure that all your fluid levels are full, and that your lights, heater and defroster are working properly. During storms, interstates and expressways are PennDOT's primary focus and equipment may be redirected to these routes during significant winter events. Plow trucks will also be slowed when facing heavy precipitation or when many other vehicles are also on roadways. This means that during heavier storms, motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.
With the new school year in full swing, PennDOT is reminding young drivers and parents/caregivers alike of the state’s laws regarding child passenger safety. Drivers or passengers under 18 years of age must buckle up. Children under 8 years old must be properly restrained. This is a primary law, which means that police will pull you over, write you a ticket and if convicted, you’ll have to pay a fine. To learn about recommendations on child safety seats as well as the state’s law for wearing seat belts over age 18, visit www.JustDrivePA.com.