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A new law updating the state’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) law for young drivers will take effect on Tuesday, Dec. 27. That means changes for existing junior drivers and permit holders, as well as teens who obtain their permits after the 27th.
The law requires everyone under the age of 18 in a vehicle to be properly buckled up, whether in a seat belt or a child safety or booster seat. By making the failure to do so a primary offense, a law enforcement officer may pull over a driver if the officer sees that someone under age 18 is not securely fastened.
The law also increases the required number of hours of behind-the-wheel training for permit holders from 50 to 65. Ten of those hours must be at night and five logged during inclement weather. This applies to teens who do not yet have their permits or have their permits but have not yet passed the on-the-road driving skills test. If you have your permit and have already passed that test, you are required to have just 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, though the additional hours might be helpful to you.
The third component of the law sets restrictions for the number of passengers in a vehicle driven by a teen. In the first six months of being licensed, a teen can only carry one, non-family passenger who is younger than 18. After the first six months and until the junior driver turns 18, a limit of three non-family passengers under age 18 is permitted.
If a junior driver has been involved in a reportable accident for which the junior driver is partially or fully responsible in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s opinion, the one-person passenger limit will apply until age 18.
For more information on the new teen driver law, visit http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/teenDriversCenter/newTeenDriversLaw.shtml