For those of us who have been driving for years, driving is second nature. It is one of the more simple tasks we perform throughout our day. However, teenagers just learning how to drive are inexperienced and unsure how to handle various situations that may arise on the road each day.
Teenage drivers pose a certain risk to other drivers on the road. As a result, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a new teen driver law on December 27, 2011 to help make the roads safer.
The new law restricts 16 and 17-year-old drivers from certain privileges more experienced drivers have. For example, teen drivers can only transport a certain number of passengers. If no parent or guardian is present, drivers under 18 may only carry one passenger for the first six months after getting a junior license. After the sixth month, the driver can only carry three passengers, and only if they have maintained a good driving record, until they turn 18 years old.
In addition, teenagers face strict penalties for not wearing seatbelts. The law orders all drivers and passengers to fasten their seatbelts. Drivers under 18 can get pulled over if they fail to wear their safety belts. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, older drivers are generally only fined for a seatbelt violation as a secondary offense if they are pulled over for another reason.
Those with driving permits who are under 18 will be required to complete 65 hours of hands-on driving training. Previously, only 50 hours were required. Of the 15 additional hours, 10 hours must be night time driving training and 5 hours must be completed during inclement weather.
The law was recently enacted in the hopes of protecting teen drivers from their own inexperience and keeping the roads safe for other drivers. For more information on the new law, go to the state Department of Transportation website at www.dmv.state.pa.us and click on “New Teen Driver Law 2011” on the left side of the page.
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