New PA laws stricter on teen drivers, more lax on cell phone users

Harrisburg recently passed a strange patchwork of driving legislation that restricts rules for teen drivers while allowing cell phone users more wiggle room.

One piece of legislation, which was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in October but takes effect today, puts extra safeguards on young drivers.

Named “Lacey’s Law” after a Philadelphia
18-year-old who died in a 2007 wreck when the driver of an
SUV carrying the victim and six friends, none wearing seatbelts, lost
control on a foggy road, the legislation increases the number of behind-the-wheel practice hours from 50
to 65 and mandates that 10 of the extra hours must be practiced at night and
five during bad weather.

It also reduces the number of passengers teen
drivers can transport without parental
supervision, a young driver can only carry one nonfamily passenger for
the first six months after getting a junior license. If the driver hasn’t caused an accident once the six months are up, he or she can drive up to three minor passengers who aren’t immediate family members without supervision.

But all of those minor passengers better be buckled in the law makes minors riding without a seatbelt a primary offense, one that serves as reason alone enough to pull over a car and that is punishable by ticketing. In this case, violators face a $75 fine.

The second driving-related bill was signed by Corbett Nov. 9 and will take effect Mar. 7, 2012, making Pennsylvania the 35th state to ban texting while driving and also decreeing the act a primary offense.

However, the legislation usurps the similar but stricter law passed by Philadelphia City Council and signed by Mayor Michael Nutter effective Nov. 1, 2009 that curbs any kind of cell phone usage by drivers, bikers or skaters in the city.

Not only was virtually identical legislation voted down by the State House Legislative Committee in April of  2009, but the House unanimously passed a bill the same month threatening to revoke nearly $90 million in gas-tax revenue and infrastructure funding if the Philly cell phone ban became law, reasoning that the municipality enacted an ordinance contradicting state vehicle code. Luckily, that did not fly in Senate.

In the latest round of cell phone legislation, Senate reportedly supported a more comprehensive ban similar to that in Philadelphia, but many Republican House Representatives were opposed to farther-reaching legislation that would address more than simply texting while driving and the scope was cut.

So, soon, while it will be illegal for teens to drive (or ride) without seatbelts, have more than three passengers in the car and take less than 65 hours of behind-the-wheel-training, they will once again be welcome to talk, check emails and look at their phone’s GPS while behind the wheel in Philadelphia.




News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.