High schoolers draft bill to improve teen driving laws

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – Midstate students are getting national recognition for their efforts to keep teens safe on the road.

East Pennsboro’s chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions is headed to Tampa, Florida later this month to accept their award as the number one SADD chapter in America.

But first, the high schoolers are working on legislation to improve teen driving laws in Pennsylvania.

Everyone has a story like Mazen Meghedi’s.

“I had somebody who was on the soccer team,” said Meghedi, an East Pennsboro senior. “I remember waking up and he had gotten into an accident the night before and he was gone. He passed away.”

Teen drivers are three times more likely to get in a car crash than adults, according to a new AAA study.

Meghedi, Mina and Rina, all seniors at East Penn and part of the high school’s SADD chapter, are bound by their concern for one Pennsylvania driving law.

“Right now, if you’re 18 years old, you’re able to go take your driver’s test and have full privileges without going through a lot of the training that’s necessary,” Meghedi said.

The group took that concern to the state Capitol. State Sen. Mike Regan found them in his office.

“They knew better than I did,” Regan said, “so I said, ‘why don’t you guys write the bill?'”

“When he told us to draft the bill, my hands went numb,” Mina Diep said.

“Of course, all of us just jumped at that point and we were like, ‘yes, can we?'” Rina Shokes said.

The seniors are now balancing finals, graduation and drafting a bill. They want to raise the age of Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver Licensing laws to include anyone under 21, instead of age 18.

The law requires 65 hours of logged practice on the road before obtaining a license. Studies show stricter GDL laws could cut teen driver’s accidents in half.

“If it’s right and it’s tight, and I think it can pass, we’ll introduce it,” Regan said.

“The fact that we’re young, it shouldn’t hinder anyone from wanting to make a difference,” Diep said.

The students are meeting during their summer break to get the draft on Regan’s desk.

But first, they head to Tampa in late June to receive their award.

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