Pennsylvania law aims to improve road safety

| Monday, October 31, 2011

A new law in Pennsylvania is intended to increase safety on roadways by applying tougher rules to the state’s most inexperienced drivers.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a bill to limit the number of passengers in vehicles operated by new teenage drivers, and require aspiring drivers to spend more time practicing. Previously HB9, the new law takes effect Dec. 25, 2011.

For the first six months behind the wheel, teen drivers without a parent present will be allowed to carry only one friend under age 18 – other than family. Once the restriction period ends for junior drivers he or she can carry up to three non-family passengers under 18.

The governor said he is glad the state’s youngest drivers are being singled out.

“Teen drivers out there may feel that they are being singled out by this bill and, the fact is, they are. ...We are not ready to give them up to a needless accident,” Corbett said in a statement.

Also included in the bill is a stricter seat-belt rule for affected drivers. Failure to buckle up by anyone in the vehicle under age 18 would be a primary offense, meaning police do not need another reason to pull them over.

Another provision calls for teens with learner’s permits to spend more time practicing before obtaining full licensing privileges.

Pennsylvania currently requires a permit holder to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, to get a junior license. The new law boosts the required practice time to 65 hours. Included is a requirement for five hours of driving in bad weather and 10 hours of nighttime driving.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.

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