Although Pennsylvania tightened restrictions on teen drivers late last year, safety advocates are not lessening their efforts to save lives. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for adolescents, who are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adult drivers.
Research continues at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where studies have shown that when states and parents place limits on teen drivers, such as reducing the number of peer passengers permitted in the vehicle, accident rates decline. A wealth of material can be found at the website for the hospital's Center for Injury Research and Prevention: http://injury.research.chop.edu/. One recent study found that more teens participate in driver's education when states mandate it.
The fact that many, including Pennsylvania, do not has been one of the focuses of the Abby Miller Foundation. It was founded by her parents, Brian and Cheri Miller, after the Unionville High junior and volunteer softball coach died in a 2008 car accident. Police attributed the cause to "inexperienced driving." Abby was 17 when she swerved to avoid a deer and lost control of her vehicle.
Since then, the Millers have become tireless advocates for returning driver's education to schools, and, through a variety of annual fund-raisers, the foundation has purchased more than half a dozen $15,000 driving simulators for area high schools, high-tech machines designed to give teens driving experience in a safe setting.