A couple of bills in the Pennsylvania House are intended to make the
state’s roadways safer for truck drivers and all other motorists.
One measure is intended to keep repeat drunken drivers off
Sponsored by Rep. Tom Gannon, R-Delaware, the bill proposes
mandatory jail time for habitual drunken drivers and the forfeiture of vehicle
involved. Offenders would face a minimum two-year sentence.
Currently, drivers found guilty of driving while impaired
face misdemeanor charges that increase with added offenses, The Philadelphia
Gannon’s bill would allow drivers found guilty of multiple
offenses or with high blood-alcohol levels to face felony charges.
The bill – HB2598 – is in the House Judiciary Committee.
Another effort would toughen regulations for drivers 16 and
17 years old.
Sponsored by Rep. Katharine Watson, R-Bucks, the bill would restrict
young drivers to one passenger under 18 at a time. Family members would be
exempted from the passenger restriction.
Similar passenger limitations are in place in nearly 40
Watson said the idea behind her bill is to reduce the amount
of chatter, commotion and other “distractions” that hamper inexperienced
drivers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
State or local police also would be given authority to pull
over young drivers for not wearing a seat belt. Pennsylvania law now requires offenders
to be pulled over for another offense, such as speeding, before they can be
ticketed for failure to buckle up.
One other provision in the bill would require aspiring
drivers to spend more time practicing. Existing state law requires a permit
holder to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, have their learner’s
permit for six months before taking a driver’s exam and have an adult at least
21 years old with them in a vehicle.
Watson’s bill would boost the training time to 65 hours. It
would include 10 hours of nighttime training and five hours of experience
driving during inclement weather.
The teen driving bill – HB2684 – is in the House