Mandate increases time behind the wheel time and minimizes distractions.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Dec. 19, 2011
Two teens were almost killed in this Chevrolet Colorado two years ago. One being my nephew. It's no surprise that car accidents are named the number one killer of teens age 16 to 19.
Beginning on December 24, 2011, a new law called Act 81 will go into effect in Pennsylvania aimed at increasing safety for all young drivers. The new law not only increases behind-the-wheel training requirements, it also places a limit on the number of passengers a young driver can transport and makes not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense.
The new law adds 15 more hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel training for driver's license permit holders younger than 18, bringing the total to 65 hours. Ten of the additional hours must include driving at night and five hours must occur during poor weather conditions
. Current permit-holders younger than 18 who have not yet passed the driving skills test before Dec. 24 will have to meet the requirements of the new law.
Also, drivers younger than 18 will not be permitted to transport more than one passenger who is under 18 and is not an immediate family member unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
. After six months, the junior driver may transport up to three passengers younger than 18 who are not immediate family members without a parent or legal guardian present, but only if that driver has not been convicted of a driving violation or has not been partially or fully responsible for a reportable crash.
The law also requires that junior drivers and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt, and children under the age of eight must be fastened in a child restraint system. The seat belt provisions of the new law are primary offenses, meaning a driver can be stopped and cited solely for that violation.
More Details on Pennsylvania’s Act 81
Changes Affecting Graduated Driver Licensing and Passenger Restraint Laws
- Pennsylvania Governor Corbett and the Legislature have agreed on changes to the Vehicle Code involving graduated driver licensing requirements, passenger restrictions for junior drivers and passenger restraint laws. The changes to the law were initiated to help junior drivers receive more comprehensive training, ease young driver distractions through limiting the number of passengers they may carry and improve general highway safety through improvements to passenger restraint laws.
Learner’s permit holders who have taken their on the road driving skills test before the law’s effective date of Dec. 24, 2011 only need to complete the present requirement of 50 hours of supervised training. However, learner’s permit holders who have not passed the on the road driving skills test before Dec. 24, 2011 will have to meet the new requirement of 65 total hours of supervised skill building training – including the ten nighttime hours and five poor weather hours of driving - before they are authorized to take the driving skills portion of their driver’s test to receive their junior license.
Changes to Junior Driver Passenger Restrictions
- Act 81 places increased restrictions on the number and age of passengers which a junior driver license holder may transport. Current law limits drivers under the age of 18 to transporting no more passengers than the number of seat belts in the vehicle.