In an effort to enhance safety on Pennsylvania roads, the Pennsylvania legislature have agreed on changes to the Vehicle Code involving graduated driver licensing requirements, passenger restrictions for junior drivers and passenger restraint laws. The new rules in Act 81 of 2011 became effective on Dec. 27, 2011.
What has changed regarding junior drivers and passenger restraint laws?
As of December 27, 2011, Pennsylvania’s graduated driver’s licensing program for young drivers changed with regards to the amount of training a young driver will need, who can be in the vehicle once the young driver gets a junior license and the requirement for the young driver and passengers under 18 to wear seat belts becomes a primary offense.
What are the details about hours?
The requirement for 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel skill-building increases to 65 hours. And for the first time, 10 of the hours must be at night and five additional hours in poor weather conditions.
Who is required to give the training?
A responsible licensed driver age 21 or older.
How do they check the length of the training?
When the young person takes the driving test, a parent or legal guardian must sign a certification form (DL-180C) that the young driver has had the 65 hours of training.
Does driving one hour at night in bad weather count as two hours?
No, it counts as one hour. The law requires a minimum of 10 hours of driving at night and five hours of driving in bad weather.
What has changed regarding passenger restrictions?
A person with a junior driver’s license (under 18) cannot have more than one non-family member under 18 in the vehicle with them when they are driving. After the expiration of the first six months from issuance of the junior driver’s license, and if the young driver has had no reportable crashes or traffic violations, the restriction changes to three passengers under the age of 18. The restriction of only one passenger continues to age 18 for junior drivers who have crashes or violations.
Does the passenger restriction apply to family members?
No. There is no restriction on having a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or adopted or foster children living in the same household as the junior driver in the vehicle with the junior license holder doing the driving. The restriction does not apply if the junior driver has a parent or legal guardian in the vehicle. In any case, you cannot have more people in the vehicle than there are seat belts.
What has changed regarding seat belts?
While young drivers and any passengers under 18 must continue to wear seat belts, failure to do so now is a primary violation, meaning a police officer can stop the vehicle and issue a citation merely for the seat belt infraction.