Teen Driving Bill Close to Becoming Law
10/17/2011
Legislation designed to improve highway safety is now a step closer to becoming law. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the state House concurred on amendments made to House Bill 9 by the state Senate. The bill, authored by state Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks), creates primary enforcement of the seat belt law for drivers and passengers under age 18, limits the number of passengers under age 18 who can ride in a vehicle driven by a junior driver (under age 18) and increases the number of hours of practical driving experience required before a minor who holds a learner’s permit can apply for a junior driver’s license.

This legislation requires a junior driver and all passengers under age 18 to wear a seat belt, or be safely secured in a child passenger restraint system. If those passengers are not properly secured, a police officer may stop the vehicle and cite the driver for this violation alone.

Under the Watson bill, a junior driver, for the first six months after obtaining a junior license, may not operate a vehicle with more than one passenger under 18 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family, unless the junior driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. After that period of time, a junior driver may not drive a vehicle with more than three passengers under 18 who are not members of the driver's immediate family, again unless the junior driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Finally, House Bill 9 increases from 50 to 65 the number of hours of practical driving experience required before applying for a junior driver’s license. The bill stipulates that 10 of those hours must be logged after dark, and five must be logged during inclement weather.

House Bill 9 is now headed to the desk of Gov. Tom Corbett, who is expected to sign it into law.


State Representative Curt Sonney
4th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
RepSonney.com
Contact: Scott Little 
slittle@pahousegop.com
717.260.6137
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