Gov. Corbett has signed Act 81, a new law that institutes changes to the Vehicle Code involving graduated driver’s licensing requirements, passenger restrictions for junior drivers and passenger restraint laws. The law will take effect on Dec. 24, 2011.
Act 81 increases supervised, behind-the-wheel skill building for learner’s permit holders less than 18 years of age from 50 hours to 65 hours. Ten of the added hours must consist of night driving, while the other five hours must be driven in poor weather conditions.
The new law increases retrictions on the number and age of passengers a junior license holder may transport. As of Dec. 24, for the first six months after receiving their junior driver’s license, a driver is not permitted to have more than one passenger under the age 18 who is not an immediate family member (brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted or foster children living in the same household as the junior driver) unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
After the expiration of the first six months from issuance of the junior driver’s license, if they have not been convicted of a driving violation or been partially or fully responsible for a reportable crash, they may have up to three passengers under age 18 who are not immediate family members without a parent or legal guardian present. If they have any convictions or are partially or fully responsible for a reportable crash while a junior driver, they are once again restricted to one passenger.
Act 81 also dictates that drivers and occupants in a vehicle who are under the age of 18 must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt, and children under the age of eight must be securely fastened in a child restraint system. Failure to comply with the new law’s seat belt provisions is a primary offense, meaning that a driver can be pulled over and cited solely for that violation.
Fro more information on the New Teen Driver Law 2011, visit the PennDOT Web site at www.dmv.state.pa.us and click on the button titled “New Teen Driver Law 2011.”