Jun. 14, 2017

By Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie)
Summertime means school’s out and families are hitting the road for the beach and other vacation destinations. To assist motorists when traveling Pennsylvania roadways, PennDOT encourages them to sign up at 511PA.com to check current traffic impacts from construction, traffic delays, weather, traffic speed and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. The service is free and available 24 hours a day.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Travelers are always reminded to buckle up, put their phones away and stay sober when behind the wheel. With that in mind, here are a few reminders about several new highway laws.

The Child Passenger Safety law update, which went into effect last August, states that children are required to be buckled into a rear-facing car seat until they are age 2 or meet the maximum weight or height requirements set by the manufacturer of the seat.

“Daniel’s Law,” now in effect, increases the penalty for those who cause accidents while texting while driving and the crash results in serious bodily injury or death.

To improve pedestrian safety, another new law says that a driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alley, building, private road or driveway needs to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway. Failure to do so could lead to a fine and three points on the driver’s license. It is also illegal to overtake or pass a vehicle yielding to a pedestrian within a crosswalk.

Under a new law passed by the General Assembly last year, drivers convicted of a first offense with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent or higher after August will be mandated to use ignition interlock for at least one year.

And lastly, motorists should also be aware of a new state law that takes effect later this summer. It would impact drivers with unpaid Pennsylvania toll violations. Act 165 of 2016 allows for the suspension of vehicle registrations of any Pennsylvania motorist who has six or more unpaid turnpike violations, and/or unpaid invoices totaling $500 or more.

Before the law takes effect on Aug. 4, the Turnpike Commission is offering a partial amnesty program to Pennsylvania registered vehicle owners who have an outstanding toll debt with the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

During this program, toll violations that have not been placed with a collection agency may be settled by paying in full all tolls for any violations or invoices, and the commission will waive all administrative fees. Toll violations that have been placed with a collection agency may be settled by paying in full all tolls and a portion of the administrative fees for all violations or invoices.

I encourage motorist who may owe a fine to take advantage of the amnesty period and settle their debts.

I wish all residents safe and happy travels this summer.

Representative Curt Sonney
4th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman