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Pennsylvania House OKs new teen driving regulations

A new law is changing the requirements that Pennsylvania teenagers who are under 18 need to fulfill in order to receive their junior driver's licenses. With road safety as the main concern, many state politicians are hoping to minimize the chances of a car accident for new drivers.

The new requirements, which were passed last month by the Pennsylvania House, will change the number of hours required behind the steering wheel before an individual can receive a junior license. Before the change, the number was 50 hours of driving with a teacher. Legislators have added another 15 hours. Ten of these extra hours must be spent behind the wheel at night, while the other five must be spent driving during inclement weather.

Another change that the new requirements have brought about is a limit on the number of passengers in a vehicle with someone who has a junior license. After becoming a junior driver, any individual without a parent in the vehicle can now only transport one other person under age 18 who does not live with them. This is limited to the first six months. When the six months end and if the junior driver has not been involved in an accident, he or she will be allowed to transport up to three individuals under 18 at a time.

These new requirements are based on information gathered from accident reports. In some accidents where underage drivers were faulted, distracted driving was one of the causes. By limiting the number of passengers, legislators are hoping to limit the possibility of distractions. One other change that came along with the new requirements will give police the authority to pull over an underage driver if anyone in the vehicle is not wearing a seat belt. As safety is the main concern, many are hoping to lower the number of car accidents involving new drivers.

Source: Pocono Record, "Tough rules make sense for junior drivers," Oct. 3, 2011

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