PA instituted Act 81 effective December 27, 2011. This changes the law with respect to junior driver’s licenses in an attempt to have junior drivers get more comprehensive training, ease driver distractions and improve safety by increasing the use of safety restraints.
The act requires that learner’s permit holders under the age of 18 have supervised behind-the-wheel skill building for a minimum of 65 hours (up from 50 hours). 10 of the added hours need to consist of nighttime driving, while the other 5 must be driven in poor weather conditions. As of December 27, 2011, for the first six months after receiving their junior driver’s license, a driver is not permitted to have more than one passenger under age 18, who is not an immediate family member, in their vehicle unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If they are accident- and violation-free after 6 months the number increases to 3 passengers. If responsible for an accident or receiving any convictions while under a junior license, they are once again restricted to one passenger.
Drivers and occupants under the age of 18 must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt and children under the age of 8 must be securely fastened in a child restraint system. Failure to comply to this rule is a primary offense, meaning that a driver can be pulled over and cited solely for that violation.