Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Steering towards safe driving

Kaitlyn Recchiuti
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Drivers enter the parking lor at North Penn High School. Teen drivers swarm the roads in the beginning and end of the school day, reminding us how important teen driver safety is.


Car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers.

Behind the wheel, seemingly mundane tasks are not easy and can have disastrous consequences. For instance, something as simple as reaching for a tissue box in the back seat can lead to catastrophe. Elizabeth Raum, Community Traffic Safety Program Manager at the Montgomery County Department of Human and Health Services, emphasizes the consequences of distracted driving. In her position, one of Raum’s goals is to eliminate preventable teen car crashes and injuries. Collaborating with local schools and police departments, the Community Traffic Safety Program disseminates life-saving tips to, as Raum puts it, “as many individuals and organizations as possible.” 

At partnered schools, Raum and her team deliver informative presentations to new and young drivers and complete online modules on the program website ( For years, the Impact Teen Drivers Program has been utilized by the Community Traffic Safety Program to provide life-saving guidance to teens.

Raum also wanted to make it known that the Community Traffic Safety Program “is always looking to partner with more organizations in the county” and spread as much life-saving information as possible.  

“Common everyday behaviors can be safe to do; like having a snack or posting on social media, texting a friend but doing them while driving or even as a passenger being overly distracting that’s where it becomes lethal,” Raum said. 

 North Penn High School has a significant population of new and young drivers who may underestimate the enormous responsibility of driving. Getting one’s license brings a profound sense of freedom that may overshadow the fact that as a driver, one is responsible for the safety of other people as well as oneself. 

The Community Traffic Safety Program emphasizes three key guidelines for novice drivers. First and foremost is adherence to the Pennsylvania graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) law. In particular, the junior license portion of this law is a crucial factor in preventing fatal accidents. The law promotes distraction-free driving by permitting only one non-family member to be in the car with a teen driver. It also sets a curfew for junior drivers from 11pm to 5 am, prohibiting teen driving during these hours. These restrictions are in place to proactively prevent teen injuries and deaths involving cars. With 50% of teen driving fatalities occurring with passengers in the car, it is easy to see the rationale for the GDL requirement restricting non-family passengers.

“Recent data has shown that [reckless and distracted driving] is the main cause of teen crashes and death more so than drugs and alcohol,” Raum added. 

Raum stresses that actions not mandated by the law can also increase the risk of accidents. She believes it is essential “for teens to know that something as simple as grabbing an object or a quick text read can increase their chance of crashing tremendously.”

Raum wants teens to know that the “I’ll be fine and the it won’t happen to me mindset can lead to tragedies”

Humans are known to have an optimism bias, meaning we are less likely to think something bad will happen to us than to another person. In the case of driving, teens might believe that the risk is low, but the statistics tell us otherwise. Each year, around 4,000 teens lose their lives and 400,000 suffer serious injuries due to automobile accidents. It is important to remember that driving brings a responsibility not only to oneself, but to fellow road users and their families.

Another key factor Raum emphasizes is always following the rules of the road. This includes adhering to the speed limit, not driving recklessly, always wearing your seatbelt, and keeping a safe distance between cars – all of which can help to prevent accidents and injury.

If this information seems daunting, there are local opportunities to help educate yourself and your family. On April 10th, from 5 to 6 pm at the North Wales Library there will be a teen driver safety course. The presentation’s information targets parents, but teens are also welcome to attend. This event aims to get parents and teens talking about safe driving and to instill good habits. Another upcoming event, the Teen Safe Driving ROADeo, will take place on May 30 from 8AM to 2 PM at the West Whiteland Township Police Department (101 Commerce Drive Exton, PA). This free event, open to all students with an adult chaperone in Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester Counties, will feature guest speakers, interactive stations, mock traffic stops, fatal vision goggles, and more. Raum encourages drivers from North Penn High School to take advantage of these local events and online modules to ensure the safety of yourself and loved ones while driving.

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    Willa MaglandApr 15, 2024 at 8:22 pm

    Great, informative article, Recchiuti. Thank you especially for the resources you included. Safe driving is important!