PennDOT Urges Responsible, Safe Driving

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) encourage all Pennsylvania motorists to take responsibility for safety on our roadways and help “Put the Brakes on Fatalities.”

In 2019, traffic fatalities dropped to 1,059, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1928. In 2020, even with less roadway traffic, fatalities increased to 1,129. In 2021, and in line with trends seen across the nation, traffic fatalities increased again, jumping by about 9% to 1,230.

“Pennsylvania is not alone in seeing an increase in roadway deaths, but that doesn’t make it OK,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “In fact, everyone should find it unacceptable. Many traffic fatalities are completely preventable. We must work together – safety is everyone’s responsibility. We urge all drivers to follow these simple safety steps today and always: pay attention when you are behind the wheel, never drive impaired, slow down, and buckle up.”

Nearly a dozen safety advocates from around the state, including PennDOT, PSP, and PTC, partnered to create a video urging safe driving.

“Troopers are trained to spot dangerous driving behaviors and take a zero-tolerance approach, but we need the public’s help to put the brakes on fatalities,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick. “If you believe you’re sharing the road with an aggressive, distracted, or impaired driver, do not hesitate to call 911.”

“Driving over the posted speed limit or too fast for conditions is among the leading causes of roadway incidents that become fatalities,” explained PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Since the pandemic, distracted driving is also a factor in many such fatalities. As drivers, we must take ownership of unsafe driving habits by paying attention and slowing down behind the wheel. It’s up to us to turn the tide.”

“Early crash data estimates are showing 2022 traffic fatalities may be down slightly over 2021,” said Gramian. “While this is encouraging news, these numbers are still too high. Even one fatality is one too many.”

Areas of concern within 2022 statewide crash data include pedestrian and motorcyclist fatalities, and fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Whether walking or biking, pedestrians and motorists must share equal respect. Drivers should slow down when approaching a crosswalk or intersection, watch for pedestrians, and be prepared to yield to them. Pedestrians should cross only at a crosswalk and make eye contact with approaching drivers to ensure they will stop before entering the roadway. Both pedestrians and motorists should obey traffic control devices, which help identify who must yield at an intersection.

PennDOT is using data to identify high pedestrian usage routes and promoting infrastructure improvements to enhance pedestrian safety, such as medians, crossing islands, and increased lighting. Traffic signal upgrades are being planned across the state to add pedestrian countdown indicators.

Riders and drivers must also work together to keep everyone safe. Motorcyclists are urged to use common sense by riding sober, obeying speed limits, and allowing enough time to react. Remember to wear all of your gear, all of the time, including reflective clothing and reflective tape on your riding gear to help improve your safety and make you more visible to motorists. Motorcyclists can be hard to see because of their smaller size. Drivers should watch for motorcycles and check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. Following too closely is a major factor in crashes involving motorcycles. Vehicles should allow at least four seconds of following distance when following a motorcycle.

Drivers are urged to always pay attention when behind the wheel. Research has shown that distraction from cell phone use while driving – either hand-held or hands-free – delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Anything that causes a motorist to take their attention away from driving, take their eyes off of the road or take their hands off of the wheel is a distraction, including:

  • Eating, drinking, and smoking,
  • Changing the radio station,
  • Talking on the phone, texting, or emailing,
  • Reading or writing,
  • Doing your hair or make up, and
  • Dozing/staring off at something along the side of the road.

Wolf Administration Reminds Riders, Drivers to Practice Safety

With both temperatures and the number of motorcycles traveling on Pennsylvania roadways on the rise, the Wolf Administration today reminded drivers and motorcyclists to share the road, obey traffic laws and watch out for one another throughout the riding season.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and motorcycle safety advocates joined forces to promote and encourage the safe operation of all vehicles. Governor Tom Wolf has proclaimed May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

“As more and more people enjoy the fun and excitement of motorcycling, it is in the best interest of both motorcyclists and motorists to share the road safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Staying aware while driving or riding, obeying speed limits and being responsible will help lower fatalities and injuries from unnecessary crashes.”

There were 3,578 crashes involving motorcycles on Pennsylvania roadways in 2021, resulting in 226 fatalities. Crashes rose by more than 150 from the 2020 number of 3,404, while fatalities also rose from 217 in 2020.

“We encourage riders to slow down, ride defensively, and remember to not drink and ride in order to keep themselves upright and ready for their next riding adventure,” said Major Robert Krol, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “Enrolling in a free safety training class can help motorcycle enthusiasts of all skill levels refresh their skills or even learn some new techniques.”

Through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP), Pennsylvania residents with a motorcycle permit or license can earn a motorcycle license or refresh their skills through a variety of training to help develop safe riding skills, no matter how experienced or inexperienced. The courses include: the Basic Rider Course (BRC); the Intermediate Rider Course (IRC); the Advanced Rider Course (ARC); and the 3-Wheeled Motorcycle Basic Rider Course (3WBRC). Successful completion of a basic or intermediate course waives the requirement to take a skills test at a PennDOT Driver License Center and automatically earns the permit holder their motorcycle license. Motorcycle permit holders who complete a 3-wheel basic course will earn a motorcycle license with restriction prohibiting the operation a of 2-wheel motorcycle.

PennDOT has contracted with several third-party motorcycle training providers to offer these safety training classes free of charge to residents with a motorcycle permit or license. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact training providers directly for class availability, as additional courses may be offered, and providers may offer additional walk-in or waiting list opportunities when individuals fail to report for the training.

Classes can be scheduled at multiple training sites throughout Pennsylvania. Class schedules are coordinated by each third-party training provider for their individual locations. Additional information can be found at PennDOT anticipates additional training sites will become available during the 2022 riding season, and customers are encouraged to check the website for updated class offerings.

To ensure that only properly licensed riders are operating on Pennsylvania roadways, under Act 126 of 2013, after securing their first motorcycle learner’s permit, people may only reapply for a permit up to three times in a five-year period.

Once the person’s motorcycle learner’s permit expires, the individual may retake the knowledge test and reapply for a new permit. If a permit holder is unsuccessful in obtaining a motorcycle license after the third permit reapplication, they must wait the entire five years from the initial issuance of the permit to get another one. This law is aimed at preventing the practice of continually extending the permit without retaking the knowledge test or ever taking the skills test and obtaining a motorcycle license.

Some safety tips motorists should keep in mind when sharing the road with motorcycles include:

  • Watch for motorcycles. Be aware that motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
  • Allow more following distance: leave at least four seconds of distance between a motorcycle and your vehicle. 
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. 
  • Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width as the motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions. 
  • Never drive impaired.

Motorcyclists can do their part to help avoid crashes by following some simple safety tips:

  • Be seen by wearing reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective clothing and motorcycle. Also wear face or eye protection and a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to potentially dangerous situations.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
  • Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions.

For more information on motorcycle safety, visit the PennDOT website.

Wolf Administration Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Teens on Safe Driving

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), State Police, Department of Education and local education and law enforcement representatives held a face-to-face forum at Cedar Cliff High School in New Cumberland today, sharing their collective knowledge with students from Cedar Cliff and Red Land high schools to mark Teen Driver Safety Week in Pennsylvania.

“We can all do our part to make highways safer by working together to help new drivers gain valuable experience and knowledge,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Parents and teachers are an integral part of establishing a mentality of safety behind the wheel amongst teen drivers.”

The forum was held to call attention to teen driver safety and share important information directly with teen drivers during the nationwide observance October 17-23. The question-and-answer format gave teens a chance to glean valuable information from knowledgeable sources they may not otherwise interact with. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens.

From 2016 to 2020, there were 82,066 crashes in Pennsylvania involving at least one 16-to-19-year-old driver resulting in 530 fatalities. Of those crashes, 45.6 percent involved the driver driving too fast for conditions (18,635 crashes), driver inexperience (7988), driver distraction (8,574) or improper/careless turning (7,490). A total of 39,399 crashes included one or more of these factors. 

The risk of a crash involving any of these factors can be reduced through practice, limiting the number of passengers riding with a new driver, obeying all rules of the road, and using common sense.

“Parents and caregivers should encourage safe driving behavior long before their teen gets a learner’s permit by consistently modeling good habits behind the wheel,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Set a positive example by ensuring everyone in the car is buckled up, eliminate distractions in the vehicle, obey the speed limit and remember to drive defensively.”

PennDOT suggests that parents consider the following recommendations to help their children become safe and responsible drivers:

  • Set a good example with your own driving habits.
  • Have regular conversations with your teen about safe driving skills before they get their learner’s permit.
  • Establish a parent/teen driving contract.
  • Ride with your teen occasionally after they receive their license to monitor driving skills.
  • Enforce observance of speed limits and other rules of the road.
  • Strongly encourage your teen to avoid distractions behind the wheel, such as talking or texting on their cell phone.
  • Limit the number of passengers they have in their vehicle.
  • Limit dawn, dusk, and nighttime driving until your teen gains more experience and enforce a curfew. Remember, state law prohibits 16- and 17-year-olds with a junior license from driving between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM
  • Gradually increase the amount of time/distance your teen is permitted to drive.

“Driving a car requires experience, skill, and undivided attention,” said Department of Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega. “Driver education training programs are invaluable in preparing teenage drivers to get behind the wheel, keeping themselves, their passengers, and fellow drivers safe on the road.”

As part of ongoing efforts to educate and assist teen drivers, PennDOT invites teens, their parents, teachers, and others to share video messages on Instagram about the personal costs of a crash, close calls, and advice on avoiding crashes. Anyone can join in this important conversation by using the hashtag #PATeenDriver.

Like the Department on Facebook at and Instagram at Follow PennDOT on Twitter at